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Economy

MPs apply for Sh5m abolished car grant

A past session of the National Assembly. file PHOTO | NMG
A past session of the National Assembly. file PHOTO | NMG 

MPs are laying the ground to acquire Sh5 million fuel guzzlers at taxpayers’ expense, less than five months after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) abolished the car grant.

The lawmakers were secretly asked to pick, fill and return the car grant application forms to the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Business Daily has established.

The quest for the free cars come after the term of the SRC commissioners ended on December 15 — a day before the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) went to court seeking to quash a gazette notice that reduced Members’ salaries, perks and other benefits.

The cuts include the scrapping of the Sh5 million car grant given to every legislator, removal of certain allowances and Sh90,000 reduction in basic monthly pay.

The car grant will set back taxpayers Sh2 billion and looks set to make citizens angry with extravagance in the government.

The 2017-22 pay structure, which replaces the 2013/17 one, came into effect with the inauguration of the 12th Parliament in September.

The cut on the salaries of top officials, including the president and lawmakers, came in July, but Parliament’s budget passed in March included the Sh2 billion car grant allocation.

There was no indication that the amount was removed from a revised budget tabled in October. 

Now, the PSC has reverted to the 2013/17 pay structure to award MPs the Sh5 million car grant.

MPs who have not identified the vehicle are being asked to provide an undertaking to provide documents to prove purchase within three months after receiving the money.

The lawmakers are also required to confirm that the sale value of the motor vehicle(s) purchased or to be purchased will not be less than the amount to be released to them from public funds.

Through lawyer George Miyare, the PSC said in the petition filed before the High Court that the car grant was a facilitative allowance previously given to State officers serving in Parliament.

He said giving the allowance was cheaper than providing and maintaining official cars for MPs due to distance and the rugged terrain the lawmakers cover as they travel to and from their constituencies and Nairobi.

The MPs accused the Sarah Serem-led SRC of encroaching on the constitutional mandate of the PSC and seeking to cripple the functioning of the 12th Parliament.

SRC, which sets wage levels, said the top officials pay cut will save Sh8.5 billion a year.

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