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MPs in talks with SRC over scrapped perks – Business Daily

Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Lyn Mengich at a press briefing in Nairobi on October 7, 2021. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG
The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) is renegotiating to reverse the decision by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to abolish plenary sitting allowances.
PSC chairperson Moses Wetangula assured MPs they will not lose any perks that the lawmakers in the 12th Parliament earned before the August 9 General Election.
Mr Wetangula said the PSC has held discussions with the SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich to ensure that MPs get what their predecessors earned.
The SRC in August scrapped sitting allowances in plenary sessions in what the commission said will save taxpayers one billion shillings annually.
The commission however retained committee sitting allowance. MPs earn Sh7,500 for every sitting and the abolishment of the allowances for plenary sessions in the National Assembly and the senate is meant to ease the pressure on the public sector wage bill which is currently at Sh930.5 billion
“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 Wetangula, the National Assembly Speaker said.
Mr Wetangula disclosed the behind-the-scenes negotiations with the SRC after MPs protested the inclusion of the SRC chairperson as among speakers to address lawmakers during the weeklong induction course.
The MPs cut short acting clerk Serah Kioko after she told them that Ms Mengich will be addressing them on Wednesday.
Mr Wetangula who chairs the PSC said the welfare of MPs is paramount and that no MP will be disadvantaged following the SRC decision to gazette new salary structures in August.
“Nobody will interfere with your allowances and mileage reimbursements. I have advised SRC to be facilitators not to frustrate MPs,” he said.
“Nothing will change and if it will change, it will be positive. Nobody should feel the pinch. I will communicate the outcome before the SRC comes here to address you.”
“I know you are funeral undertakers and above all, you are the local ATMs. We will ensure that we facilitate you to discharge some of these demands,” Mr Wetangula said.
The SRC set the MPs salaries at Sh710,000 including Sh134,000 as house allowance.
The SRC capped committee sitting allowances for lawmakers at Sh120,000 per month while those of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons were capped at Sh192,000 and Sh240,000.
The MPs protested against the move to abolish plenary sitting allowances and asked their employer, the PSC to engage SRC or seek legal redress to reverse the cut on perks.
The MPs have in the past successfully challenged SRC pay cuts after moving to court to set aside a previous gazette notice.
The SRC had in July 2017 scrapped sitting allowances for lawmakers, reduced basic pay by Sh90,000 to Sh621,250 and removed the Sh5 million car grant given to every legislator.
However, the High Court quashed the changes following a petition by the PSC which had accused the SRC of seeking to cripple the functions of the 12th Parliament and interference with their constitutional mandate.
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.
Kenyan lawmakers are some of the highest paid in the world attracting public outcry in an economy that is struggling with a high rate of unemployment and near-stagnant wages for civil servants.
The SRC will review the pay of lawmakers next year before the start of the 2023-2024 financial year.
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