The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is facing a battle with MPs for eliminating sitting allowances for lawmakers, who are now planning to disband the commission.
In a gazette notice published last month, the SRC suspended sitting allowances, arguing that doing so will save taxpayers more than Ksh1 billion annually. To placate the lawmakers, the SRC boosted the basic pay of MPs by Ksh134,000 to Ksh710,000 while keeping committee sitting allowances.
The removal of transportation assistance in the form of automobile grants for all state officers will also affect speakers and County Executive Committee Members (CECs), according to the body’s chairperson Lynn Mengich.
Following the SRC’s vote to eliminate sitting allowances in plenary sessions, the newly elected MPs intend to begin the process of dissolving the SRC. The MPs requested that their employer, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), appeal the decision in court because the SRC had overstepped its authority.
The elimination of the allowances for National Assembly and Senate plenary sessions is intended to relieve some of the burdens on the public sector salary bill, which is now at Ksh930.5 billion yearly. Members of parliament make an average of Ksh5,000 per sitting. When the newly elected MPs are sworn in before September 9, 2022, the elimination of the plenary session allowances will go into effect.
Third-term MP for Westlands Tim Wanyonyi said that they will not stand by and watch while the SRC takes away the benefits of the last Parliament. If they are unsuccessful in challenging the gazette notice, they will start the process to dissolve the SRC.
The SRC is a constitutional entity that can only be abolished by a Constitutional Amendment. To dissolve the commission, Parliament will need to get a two-thirds majority or 233 of the 349 MPs. MPs and the SRC had previously argued over the SRC’s decision to eliminate substantial perks that they had received before the 2010 Constitution’s adoption.
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