Members of Parliament set for a hefty pay rise -at least 46,000- if Akiwumi report is adopted. While their voters grapple with starvation and others flooded out of their homes. What can we call this madness, selfishness?
In addition, MPs’ pay will be increased by five per cent every year to cushion them against a rise in the cost of living and their allowances for sitting in parliament have been doubled. Prime Minister Raila Odinga is to earn Sh1.67 million every month, some Sh350,000 more than Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka the tribunal says, settling a vexing quarrel over who is President Kibaki’s second-in-command.
MPs will pay more tax, after their taxed basic salary was increased from Sh200, 000 to Sh350, 000. The bulk of their income made up of allowances will however not be taxed and, according to the tribunal, cannot be taxed until the law is changed. The tribunal, chaired by retired Appellate Judge Akilano Akiwumi, agonised over awarding a pay rise for MPs in the face of public hostility and an economy in recession. Indeed, the tribunal gives eloquent reasons why a salary increase at this time is not wise.
The increase has been achieved by removing one of the MPs’ three car allowances, adding part of it to the basic pay and spreading the rest to other allowances. All other allowances have been increased, some such as sitting allowance, more than twice.
The tribunal appears to have been of a divided mind, on the one hand it dwells at length on the reasons for not giving a salary increase, but at the same time felt MPs do an important job and should be paid well. Its report, as a result, is complicated and it will take many days for its full import to be understood.
But when everything is boiled down, MPs have been given a pay rise even though it will not appear in their payslips. This will come from the allowance members are paid to attend Parliament and its committees.
At the time, MPs threatened the Clerk of the National Assembly that unless he obtained permission from Treasury for the increase, they would not vote for the Supplementary Budget then before the House. Treasury officials tricked MPs into believing that the increment had been approved while in actual fact it had not.
The tribunal concludes that there are “too many allowances paid for the maintenance of just one car” but does not take any of them away. Instead, it makes proposals which will allow MPs a little more tax and still be left a little better off.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS TRIBUNAL?