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MPs renew push for tax funded five-star food

Parliament in session
Parliament in session. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Public Finance Management MPs are plotting to raid taxpayers coffers to finance their lavish lifestyles after a House team approved the enactment of a Bill seeking to establish a special fund to run their five-star catering facility.

The National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning committee wants the House to pass the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that seeks to empower the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), MPs employer, to establish a fund for Parliament or House of Parliament.

“The committee, having considered the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill, 2020 recommends that the House approves the Bill with an amendment proposed in the schedule,” Joseph Limo, who chairs the committee, said in a report to the House.

The new Bill is a fresh attempt to circumvent a court ruling that annulled amendments to section 24(2A) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 which anchored the Public Finance Management (Parliamentary Catering Fund) Regulations 2019.

If the Bill sails through, it means lawmakers will wine and dine at the expense of taxpayers as they will foot part of the cost of the expensive catering services since the fund would consist of money to be “appropriated by Parliament.”

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Currently, the PSC runs the catering service that offers MPs a five-course lunch at Sh600. A similar meal at most five-star hotels in Nairobi costs between Sh2,700 and Sh3,500, inclusive of tax.

The annulled Parliamentary Catering Fund Regulations 2019, would have seen the 418- member Parliament including both Speakers of the Senate and the National Assembly enjoy some of the finest foods and drinks as it allowed for the outsourcing from high-end hotels.

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