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Economy

Uhuru blocks MPs’ bid for hefty allowances

Members of Parliament
Members of Parliament in session. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has slammed the brakes on Members of Parliament quest for hefty pay after he refused to assent to the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2019, that contains a raft of contentious allowances.

Mr Kenyatta has fired back to Parliament a memorandum explaining that the mandate of regularly reviewing the domestic and international travel allowances solely lies with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

The President has expressed his reservations on clause 20 of the Bill regarding the facilitation of activities outside the precincts of Parliament by MPs and members of staff of Parliament.

He has also rejected clause 43 on remuneration of employees of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

The MPs had amended section 20 of the Bill to bypass the role of reviewing the international and local travel allowances from the SRC to the MPs employer, the PSC.

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“In exercise of the powers conferred on me by Article 115(1)(b) of the Constitution, I refuse to assent to the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2019, for the reasons set out hereunder,” Mr Kenyatta said in a memo to Speaker Justin Muturi.

He said clause 20 of the Bill provides for the facilitation of activities held outside the precincts of Parliament by MPs and staff of Parliament.

“Sub clause (2) provides that the commission shall regularly review the domestic and international travel allowances applicable to members and staff of Parliament.

“Sub clause (2) does not take into account or make reference to the role of the SRC under Article 230 (4) of the Constitution with respect to setting and regularly reviewing the remuneration and benefits of all State officers and advising the national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers,” Mr Kenyatta said. He recommended that MPs delete clause 20 of the Bill.

In clause 43 of the Bill which provides for remuneration of employees of the PSC, Mr Kenyatta said the Bill empowers the commission to determine the remuneration and allowances of employees and a review cycle of remuneration and benefits of the commission’s employees without the input of the SRC.

“However, clause 43 does not take into account the advisory role of the SRC as set out in Article 234(4) with respect to the determination or review of the remuneration of all other public officers,” he said.

“In view of the foregoing, I recommend that clause 43 be amended in subsection 1 by inserting the words “on the advice of the SRC and by deleting the words,” Mr Kenyatta said.

The MPs have 21 days to consider the memorandum from the President and can only overturn the same with the support of two-thirds (233 MPs) vote.

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