Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has backed Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s decision to cut salaries of the president and Members of Parliament.
The cut is aimed at lowering the wage bill in the public sector, according to government’s gazette.
Kenyan MPs, who are thought to be among the highest paid in world, will see their gross salary reduced from $7,200 to $6,000 while the president’s gross monthly salary will be slashed from $16,000 to $14,000.
MPs car grant and plenary sessions allowance have been abolished.
The Independent Salaries & Remuneration commission led by Sarah Serem wants MPs, president and other officials to agree to the salary reduction before they take the oath of office.
The MPs, president and other elected officials’ salary reduction move will save Kenya $88m a year.
The Standard Kenya reports that Members of Parliament are spoiling for a fight with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) over pay cuts.
Despite Kenyatta praising the commission’s efforts to control the wage bill, it appears the pay row will be the first agenda for the 12th Parliament.
From all indications, MPs are planning to rekindle their pay hike row with SRC as witnessed in 2013.
The angry lawmakers have said once they sail through in the August 8 polls, they will push for a Government car domicile in the counties or constituencies.
“The timing of the release and gazettement of the new salaries and allowances for State officers is suspect and unprocedural. This demonstrates the level of dictatorship by the commission over others like the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC),” protested National Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East).
“We respect our party leader’s position on this matter. However, what the SRC has done goes against the labour laws. Once a salary has been given to an individual, it cannot be reduced.”
Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), also dismissed the new scales as pure public relations and an exercise in futility.
“It will not achieve much in the absence of political will at the top to fight corruption. The supposed saving of Sh8 billion, which translates to around 15 per cent, will be gobbled up in the usual way by known lords of impunity,” said Mr Wandayi.
But Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) and Kanini Kega (Kieni) upheld that MPs are representative of the people and should not seek office for the purposes of making money.
They however admitted that the abolition of car grants would impact negatively on their representation role and proposed that MPs should be allocated Government vehicles.
“Let PSC procure vehicles instead of giving loans payable by three per cent interest,” said Mr Ichung’wa. Mr Kega said: “Without vehicles, movement will be a challenge. We should get Government vehicles domiciled in the constituencies.”
Ichung’wa nevertheless termed the decision to cluster mileage claims in five zones discriminatory.
Wednesday, SRC chairperson Sarah Serem scoffed at the MPs’ concerns, reminding them of the cardinal role of oversight, representation and law making.
“The SRC’s mandate is very clear. Parliament is not a place to make money. Their moral obligation is to discharge their core mandate. That’s why we gazetted the figures for candidates to know what they will earn,” she said.