– Proposal to deduct SRC’s budget allocation was moved by South Mugirango legislator Silvanus Osoro
– The motion was seconded by MPs Wilberforce Oundo, Silvanus Osoro and and nominated MP David Sanko
– The MPs pointed out that SRC spent KSh 125.6 million, part of its initial budget allocation, without approval
Members of the 12th Parliament seem to have decided to make good their threat to paralyse operations of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission after the body declined to approve KSh 250,000 monthly house allowance.
The lawmakers proposed for deduction of KSh 95 million from KSh 545, 360,000 budget allocation to the commission in the 2019-2020 financial year (FY).
The motion was moved by South Mugirango legislator Silvanus Osoro and seconded by MPs Wilberforce Oundo (Funyula), Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) and nominated MP David Sanko.
A report by Daily Nation on Thursday, June 20, indicated Osoro’s proposal was endorsed by a number of MPs when they met to approve the KSh 1.8 trillion recurrent and development budget estimates for the national government.
The lawmakers while deliberating on the proposal to slash the SRC’s allocation raised a number of reasons why they felt the move was justified.
They pointed out the commission had already utilised KSh 125.6 million without approval by Parliament out of the initial allocation of KSh 645,360, 000 for the 2019/20 FY.
Out of the said amount (KSh 125.6 million), KSh 99.17 million was used to purchase motor vehicles and other transport equipment.
The commission spent KSh 20.4 million on refurbishment of its offices; KSh 2.85 transportation costs; office furniture gobbled up KSh 1.13 million; other operating expenses took KSh 2 million.
In defence of the expenditures, the salaries body argued they were in compliance with Article 223 of the Constitution which states:
“…the government may spend money that has not been appropriated for, on emergencies but must seek post- facto approval from the National Assembly within two months of the expenditure.”
However, the MPs could not hear any of it.
“It is incomprehensible why new commissioners should buy new cars when the former commissioners had vehicles that are available.
This is also not a commission that is coming to office for the first time to incur expenses on office refurbishment,” argued Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, chair of the National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriation Committee.
Move to reduce budget allocation to the commission could be seen as an attempt by the MPs to cut down to size the salaries body for declining to approve the KSh 250,000 monthly budget allocation they had awarded themselves.
The lawmakers had declared war on the SRC chaired by Lyn Mengich for refusing to approve their monthly house allowances maintaining they are entitled to it.
The commission termed as unconstitutional the house allowance and successfully challenged it in court by having it stopped, a move that angered the legislators who had already pocketed millions out of the controversial allowance.
In their quest for higher perks, the MPs reportedly convened a closed-door meeting chaired by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi to come up with a plan on how to get away with it.
Muturi had also publicly defended the lawmakers saying the house allowance that was allocated to them by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) was justified despite concerns over the ballooning public wage bill.
“The notion that MPs are not concerned about Kenya’s wage bill is fallacious. Kenyans must not allow the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to be selective and discriminatory in its determination.
A housing benefit is extended to all Public Servants and State Officers alike,” he said on Saturday, June 8, amid growing public anger over the lawmakers’ persistent push for the pay rise.
The legislators had allegedly hatched an elaborate plot to cripple operations of the SRC and slash allowances of the commissioners and other public servants including President Uhuru Kenyatta after the salaries body stopped their house allowance.
The SRC had on Tuesday, May 7, issued a statement indicating it was the only body mandated with determining salaries and allowances of state officials , MPs included.
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Source: Tuko Kenya