- Lawmakers are seeking to have their car grants doubled from the current Sh5 million to Sh10 million.
- The MPs are also fighting for an increase in the plenary sitting allowance to Sh7,500 from the current Sh5,000 per session.
- MPs also want the sitting allowance for committees increased from the current Sh5,000 to Sh7,500 per session for members.
Members of Parliament (MPs) want the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to reinstate and increase several allowances that the commission scrapped, in an audacious move that could raise their salaries from the current Sh1.1 million to between Sh2.1 million and Sh2.9 million a month.
In a memorandum to the SRC seen by the Nation, lawmakers are seeking to have their car grants doubled from the current Sh5 million to Sh10 million, increase their mortgage entitlements, extend their medical cover to more than one spouse and retain huge car maintenance and mileage allowances.
Should they not have their way in getting the car grant increased, they have threatened to use taxpayer money to buy top-of-the-range four-wheel-drive vehicles for all the 359 members.
There are currently 290 elected MPs, 47 woman representatives, 12 members nominated by political parties, and the Speaker of the National Assembly.
They argue that the current car grant of Sh5 million, which is taxable, is not sufficient to enable them to obtain vehicles that can withstand the rigours of the journeys they are required to make to and from the constituencies.
“The reason for the increment is that this sum is taxable and the government is in the process of banning importation of motor vehicles of more than three years of age,” reads the memorandum, dated January 31, 2019.
The document, signed by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), urges SRC to agree and settle cases pertaining to MPs’ perks out of court.
“A car grant should be a permanent feature in the terms and conditions of service for an MP. If SRC is not willing to accede to this request, PSC shall, pursuant to its mandate under Article 127 of the Constitution, purchase a motor vehicle for each MP and thereafter fuel and maintain the same through regular service,” says Mr Muturi.
Should Parliament adopt this proposal, the vehicles bought for MPs by the PSC would be registered to the government, and hence the commission would hire drivers and transport managers for the vehicles, which Mr Muturi says is an unnecessary additional burden on taxpayers.
The MPs are also fighting for an increase in the plenary sitting allowance to Sh7,500 from the current Sh5,000 per session, saying it motivates MPs to attend plenary sessions and participate in debates. They also want SRC not to limit the number of sittings the allowance is payable for.
Mr Muturi argues that the plenary sitting allowance ensures a quorum, and that withdrawing it has affected parliamentary business.
“It is [an] unfair labour practice for SRC to purport to abolish the sitting allowance for plenary sessions as it did in a Gazette Notice dated July 7, 2017. This allowance has been in existence since pre-independence days,” he says in the memorandum.
In addition, MPs also want the sitting allowance for committees increased from the current Sh5,000 to Sh7,500 per session for members, and that of chairpersons of committees from the current Sh8,000 to 15,000. The allowances are taxable.