Barely two weeks after members of the 13th National Assembly (MPs) were sworn in, they have begun talks with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), seeking to reinstate their abolished sitting allowances.
“I have this morning held a meeting with the SRC chairperson to express your anger over cuts in MPs’ perks. I called them to order on a few things and I assure you that I will be making an announcement before Wednesday,” Mr Moses Wetangula, the National Assembly Speaker and Chair of the Public Service Commission said.
Mr Wetangula said discussions with the SRC is also on the engine sizes of vehicles MPs will get given the different terrain in the country.
The SRC in August scrapped sitting and mileage allowances with effect from 9th August 2022, in what the SRC vice chairperson Dr. Amani Komora said will save taxpayers between KES 1 billion and KES 1.5 billion annually.
The National Assembly has 349 MPs while Senate has 67 members, all earning a uniform plenary sitting allowance of KES 5,000. While the National Assembly holds 4 sittings a week, the Senate sits three times a week.
The SRC set the MPs salaries at KES 710,000 including KES 134,000 as house allowance.
In a similar move witnessed in July 2017, the commission scrapped sitting allowances for MPs, reduced basic pay by KES 90,000 to KES 621,250, and removed the KES 5 million car grant given to every legislator.
However, the High Court quashed the changes following a petition by the lawmakers.
The SRC will now review the pay of lawmakers next year before the start of the 2023-2024 financial year.
A 2013 study by the UK-based Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked Kenyan legislators as the second-highest paid lawmakers in the world, beating their counterparts from the developed economies of US, Britain and Japan.
At the time, the MPs’ basic pay, which excluded allowances, was 76 times Kenya’s GDP per capita of KES 84,624.
The report showed that 4 out of 5 of the highest paid MPs in the world are African, with the top five from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia, and South Africa.