Kenyans to shoulder burden of pay increase for MPs

Parliament Building

The Parliament Building in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The 410 senators and members of the National Assembly will earn Sh36.3 million more each month in the proposed structure.
  • Salaries and Remuneration Commission is also pushing to have sitting allowances for parliamentary committees increased.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is proposing to add more burdens on Kenyans, with a plan to increase salaries of elected leaders, including MPs and MCAs, even as it claims to have frozen pay increases for civil servants until 2023.

In the latest proposal by SRC on salary reviews for state officers between 2021/22 and 2022/23, the commission proposes to increase salaries for MPs by at least 14 per cent, as well as other parliamentary officials such as speakers and their deputies, majority and minority leaders.

The commission, in the proposals for salaries to state officers in the third review cycle -- 2021/22 and 2022/23, which was released on Tuesday for public participation, proposes to have MPs and senators paid Sh710,000 in monthly salary, up from the current Sh621,250.

This would mean that in total, the 410 senators and members of the National Assembly will earn Sh36.3 million more each month in the proposed structure, pushing monthly salary costs to Sh291.1 million. 

With majority and minority leaders also proposed to earn Sh11,248 more monthly, speakers Sh10,000 more and their deputies Sh8,000 more, this raises the annual wage bill for Parliament by 14 percent from Sh3.1 billion to Sh3.58 billion.

Yet it is not salaries only that SRC proposes to increase for parliamentarians, since it has also pushed to have sitting allowances increased from the current Sh8,000 to Sh15,000 for committee chairpersons per session and from Sh5,000 to Sh7,500 per session for members.

The commission raises the ceiling for the maximum amount MPs can pocket from attending committee sittings from Sh80,000 to Sh120,000 a month, with committee chairpersons planned to reap a maximum of Sh240,000 a month, from the current Sh128,000.

“Cognisant of the government’s financial constraints, the current wage bill ratios and the need to release resources for investment in the priority areas, to jump-start the economy that has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the SRC has advised the national and county governments that there will be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid in the public service in the financial year 2021/2022 – 2022/2023. The SRC will review the situation after two fiscal years and based on the status of the economy, guide on the way forward for the remaining period of the third remuneration and benefits review cycle,” SRC stated in the document now under public participation.

At the counties, SRC has proposed to increase salaries for County Executive Committee Members (CECs) from Sh259,875 to Sh306,250, while speakers for county assemblies will earn Sh404,250 from earning the same amount as CECs currently earn.

Deputy speakers for county assemblies have, however, suffered a blow, with their salaries proposed to be slashed from Sh216,563 to Sh210,000, while MCAs will earn just one additional shilling from the current Sh144,375 to Sh144,376.

But sitting allowance for MCAs will be enhanced from the current Sh3,000 per committee sitting to Sh3,900, with the maximum figure they can take home from sitting allowances monthly raised from Sh48,000 to Sh62,400.

SRC proposes to have chairpersons for county assembly committees earn Sh6,500 for chairing sessions, with the maximum they can claim monthly raised from Sh80,000 to Sh104,000.

Among state officers the commission has proposed to retain their salaries at current levels include the President, Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Governors, Deputy Governors, Auditor General and chairpersons for independent commissions.

The commission had in June indicated that it would not adjust upwards salaries for any civil servant in 2021/22 and 2022/23, due to fiscal pressures.

“The National Treasury will review the performance of the economy and advise SRC as/and when the review can be done based on the prevailing circumstances to ensure affordability and fiscal sustainability,” SRC stated then.
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