Thursday, April 18, 2024

Kenyan MPs in fresh pay hike plan

MPs are now pushing for a pay rise before their perks are taxed as they rollup their sleeves to execute their fight-back plan against the taxman and the Executive.


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Parliament’s Budget Committee has sneaked in a clause calling on the government to implement the recommendations of the Akiwumi Tribunal report that proposes that their pay to be increased to Sh1.1 million per month from the current minimum pay of Sh851,000 per month.

In the Budget report tabled in the House on Thursday, the MPs are categorical that the “Akiwumi report be operationalised”.

In the cheeky recommendation, the MPs have also roped in former MPs whom they want paid USD1,000 (Sh90,000), because the MPs are “convinced of the imperative need to address the pathetic condition of most of the MPs”.

The MPs say the pension is at the rate prescribed for all MPs in the Commonwealth.

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With most of the MPs knowing that their chances of re-election in next year’s poll are low, the MPs want a soft landing and they propose that the law be amended so that even those who have just served for one term become eligible for a monthly pension.

This job of pushing for an amendment –so that MPs who’ve qualified for one term qualify for pension–has been left to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

Previously, MPs were to serve for two terms.

The move to boost their future out of Parliament comes against a backdrop of an opinion poll released early this month showing that Kenyan voters would reject more than a half of MPs if a General Election were held today.

The poll by Infotrak Harris showed that the public’s anger against MPs is driven by what is perceived as failed promises and mismanagement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), plus their brazen refusal to pay tax on their hefty perks.

The push by the Budget Committee comes as credible reports filter from Parliament that the PSC has already instructed its lawyers to file a case in the Supreme Court to get a final declaration on the way forward in the taxation debacle.

The PSC is also looking for an appointment with the President, the Prime Minister and the Vice President on the way forward in the taxation debacle.

This trio at the helm of the Executive plus some MPs and assistant ministers has already remitted their tax arrears –a minimum of Sh2 million– that had piled up since August 26, last year when Kenya’s 10-month-old Constitution takes effect.

Though the push for a pay hike in the House report is disguised as taking care of the welfare of former MPs, it is difficult to understand how only that part of the Akiwumi report will be implemented in isolation.

The Akiwumi report was adopted last June by the House and the Executive ordered to execute its implementation as soon as possible.

Parliament has also shed the Treasury’s proposal to have it allocated Sh8.2 billion in the current fiscal year and is pushing for an additional Sh800 million, which it has scrounged from budget cuts in foreign travel of various ministries.

The House wants the estimates of the PSC of Sh8.9 billion used and not the Sh8.1 billion that the Treasury had allocated.

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