MPs have been forced to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for meals in city hotels following closure of Parliament’s restaurant, which offers subsidised food to lawmakers.
The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) suspended services to MPs and senators on December 22 to allow the canteen staff to go for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The canteen is set to re-open on Monday, January 15.
The closure of the MPs Lounge and Staff Canteen means that legislators who usually frequent the restaurant for breakfast and lunch meals as well as evening drinks will have to visit the relatively more expensive city hotels for 17 days.
Top hotels within Nairobi central business district charge at least five times more for a five-course meal compared to the Parliament restaurant.
The PSC runs the catering service that offers MPs a five-course lunch at Sh600. A similar meal at most five-star hotels cost between Sh2,700 and Sh3,500, inclusive of tax.
At the restaurant, a tea pot and accompaniments such as sausage, arrow roots and sweet potatoes go for about Sh160. The restaurant is a cashless facility and MPs’ bills are deducted from their pay at the end of the month.
After the 2013 General Election that expanded Parliament from 222 to 415 legislators, the PSC turned the restaurant to self-service buffet menu.