Friday, 3 May 2013

House sets aside Sh10bn for perks

PHOTO | FILE A past session of the 11th Parliament.
PHOTO | FILE A past session of the 11th Parliament.  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Thursday, May 2  2013 at  23:30
MPs have presented a profligate budget for themselves, which gives each of them Sh7.1 million to buy a luxury car.
Parliament’s Sh24 billion budget — a kick in the teeth for burdened taxpayers — appears not to take into account the economic hardships facing the country.
Instead, it might have made a generous provision for an increase in members’ salaries which is not only illegal, but also universally unpopular.
Sh10 billion is set aside for MPs’ salaries and allowances.
The estimates contain an elaborate development and recurrent expenditure preview for the expanded 420-member bicameral House.
The budget proposal includes Sh7.1 million set aside to fund a controversial car grant for each Senator and MP and a seemingly surging pay package for the leaders which appears to have taken the proposed salary review for the MPs into consideration.
The budget also proposes Sh3.39 billion for the 350 MPs’ allowances and an additional Sh1.3 billion for their domestic and foreign travel.
Some Sh1.1 billion has been earmarked to cater for the 67 Senators’ salaries with Sh449 million being payment for their basic salaries and Sh663 million for allowances.
An analysis of the estimates indicated that over Sh801,000 has been allocated to cater for allowances and basic salaries for each MP a month and another Sh1.3 million has been budgeted to pay the consolidated allowances and basic salaries for Senators.
Further, the billions would be used to cater for the expanded needs of Parliament which include acquisition and construction of new offices due to the huge number of members currently in the House, additional staff, training and increased foreign and domestic travel needs.
Senators will also use Sh297 million for domestic trips while Sh64 million will fund their foreign travel costs.
Some Sh4 billion has been set aside to fund the construction of office facilities which will include Sh1.2 billion for a new office block, Sh800 million for the refurbishment of the Senate chambers and other offices within Parliament Buildings.
Parliament has also proposed the setting aside of Sh25 million to buy new vehicles and Sh10 million for purchase of household furniture.
Further, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) has proposed that Sh150 million be used to fund the construction of office facilities at the Centre for Parliamentary Studies in Karen and another Sh100 million to buy additional land for future expansion plans of the institution.
The PSC has also set aside Sh10 million for the purchase of high powered security gadgets to enhance security within the parliamentary complex.
The expansive budget estimates were tabled in the House by the PSC vice-chairman Adan Keynan on Thursday.
Expanded Parliament
“The gross development estimates for the fiscal year 2013/2014 total Sh4 billion. These estimates will be used to cater for the provisions of physical facilities and other infrastructure necessary for the expanded Parliament,” said Speaker Justin Muturi.
A proposed Sh532,000 monthly salary and chopped allowances and benefits for MPs has met resistance with a Bill proposing the dissolution of the entire Salaries and Remuneration Commission already under way.
In the current financial year the PSC budget stood at Sh15 billion with Sh12 billion set aside for recurrent expenditure and Sh2.2 billion earmarked for development.

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