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Economy

MPs to splash Sh7.3bn on personal staff and offices

MPs
MPs during a session in Parliamentary Buildings. Their employer had sought a Sh42.5 billion budget for MPs and their staff. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

MPs will spend Sh7.29 billion on their constituency offices and aides in the year starting July, reflecting the burden of keeping lawmakers comfortable.

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), their employer, is seeking approval from MPs to raise the offices budget by Sh440 million from the current Sh6.8 billion.

The 349 members of the National Assembly and 67 Senators, including nominated members employ staff like drivers, secretaries, messengers and personal assistants for their offices at taxpayers’ expense.

The National Assembly has been allocated Sh6.1 billion for constituency offices while the Senate will spend Sh1.17 billion on county offices.

According to the PSC salary schedules for MPs staff, a personal assistant is the highest paid taking home a monthly salary of Sh65,000. The office assistant is the least paid at Sh20,000 monthly.
MPs have a free hand to employ or fire their staff.

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In the current year, PSC tabled Sh42.55 billion budget to finance MPs and staff operations but the Treasury revised it to Sh38.6 billion.

Development budget

The PSC transfers the money to respective MPs, women representatives and Senate offices’ operations accounts on a quarterly basis.

The PSC is seeking Sh43.6 billion to finance operations of MPs, senators and parliamentary staff in the next financial year.

A breakdown of the estimates has gross recurrent estimates at Sh40.56 billion and the development budget at Sh3.07 billion.

The PSC has two distinct votes, with the National Assembly getting a huge chunk of Sh26.79 billion and the PSC, which includes the Senate, getting Sh13.77 billion. This adds up to the Sh40.56 billion.

Salaries of staff employed by MPs are met by taxpayers through a constituency staffing scheme mooted in 2005, adding to their comfort given their position among the best paid legislators in Africa.

MPs are entitled to a tax-free car grant, mileage allowances, pension and unlimited committee sessions, pushing their monthly take-home to more than Sh1 million.

Politicians argue that they deserve the high compensation because constituents expect them to provide charitable support.

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