MPs set aside Sh2.6 billion one-off pay for themselves

A section of Parliament building Nairobi taken on January 6, 2017. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO
A section of Parliament building Nairobi taken on January 6, 2017. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

MPs have allocated themselves a one-off payment of Sh2.6 billion as allowances in the year starting July amid a push by the lawmakers to be paid for the eight months shaved off their five-year term by the delay in holding the 2013 General Election.

The delayed parliamentary budget, which was tabled last week, shows that allowances paid to the MPs will jump to Sh7.2 billion in the year starting July, up from the current Sh4.5 billion.

It will drop to Sh4.6 billion in the year starting July 2018, indicating that the hefty Sh2.6 billion is tied to the lawmakers’ end of term.

MPs were poised for two sets of one-off payments including the severance allowance for the shorter term and gratuity payments upon completion of their term — which is paid straight from the government’s main account.

The Business Daily failed to establish whether the additional Sh2.6 billion is linked to compensation for the shorter period the MPs have served when their term comes to an end on August 7.

The 11th Parliament has a shorter life span having been elected into office in March 2013 and is set to terminate on August 8, 2017.

The Constitution stipulates that a General Election will be held every second Tuesday of August of the fifth year.

The Sh2.6 billion allowance will see each of the 418 MPs take home Sh6.2 million, pushing their total send-off package to Sh12.9 million.

MPs are entitled to gratuity payments of Sh2.8 billion at the end of their term on Election Day.

Stopped payments

Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Sarah Serem and Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich had earlier not committed themselves to the MPs’ demands, saying the High Court had stopped payment of the allowance.

Lawmakers have time and again arm-twisted the Treasury and the SRC for better pay and bigger allowances.

At the beginning of their current term, the MPs refused to take their salaries after the SRC reduced it from Sh1 million to Sh532,000.

They pushed through a deal that guaranteed them monthly take-home of more than Sh1 million.

Lawmakers are entitled to a tax-free car grant, mileage allowance, pension and unlimited committee sessions.

New MPs are also entitled to a free Sh5 million car grant. This will cost taxpayers Sh2.1 billion to enable each of the 418-member bicameral parliament — MPs and Senators — to buy cars after the August 8 poll.

The Parliamentary Car Loan (Members) Scheme Fund also enables MPs to borrow at subsidised interest rates for an extra luxury car above the Sh5 million grant.

On the car grant, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) wants Sh2.2 billion reserved for MPs in the year starting July.