Kenyan members of parliament are among the best paid in the world, taking home more than those in the most developed countries like USA, Japan and even Britain. Despite this fact, they have never tired from seeking for more ways to fill their pockets even when the country is broke and sinking deeper into debt.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has bowed to pressure from our Legislatures and granted them additional medical perks and increased pension payouts through a lumpsum send-off package.
The commission in a response to a memorandum from the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) allowed the lawmakers and their families to access medical insurance beyond the Sh10 million annual limit.
Member of Parliament who have served for a single term will also receive a send-off package equivalent to 31 per cent and a refund of their pension contributions without interest.
Presently, MPs are given the option to choose between the refund of the contributions and the 31 per cent gratuity.
Those who lost their seats in the August 2017 General Election after serving a single term got a refund of Sh5.9 million each as an exit package last year.
MPs had in the memorandum sought the reinstatement and increase of several allowances that the SRC scrapped.
The memo proposed that the lawmakers’ salaries rise from the current Sh1.1 million to between Sh2.1 million and Sh2.9 million a month.
The MPs demanded house allowance, per diems, increased sitting allowance, bigger mileage claims, enhanced mortgage and car loans as well as a free grant of Sh10 million, up from the current Sh5 million.
SRC in response to the memo said “Where a member exhausts their medical cover entitlement, SRC may extend ex-gratia assistance. However, this benefit will be managed on a case by case basis in line with the larger public service policy on medical ex-gratia,”
In the memo, lawmakers wanted SRC to offer them gratuity and refund of pension contributions. As a rule, lawmakers pay 12.75 per cent of their salary as their pension contribution. This is the amount that is matched by the State.
The SRC declined to grant MPs their request on car maintenance allowance, mileage and daily subsistence allowance.
MPs have in recent years gained notoriety for arm-twisting the Treasury and the salaries commission to line their pockets with fat pay cheques and perks, making them among the best paid in the region.