Members of Parliament last evening registered a resounding victory after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) agreed to reinstate most allowances that had been scrapped.
According to sources who attended the induction of MPs at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, yesterday, the commission promised to restore all the allowances that were scrapped during the latest review carried out before the August 9 poll.
Some of the allowances that are likely to be reinstated are those for MPs and senators’ plenary sessions and committees and transport mileage.
The source who sought anonymity said, SRC also promised to reinstate the Sh5 million car grant, which was scrapped.
SRC has given us seven days to consider our demands,” said the source.
The commission scrapped sitting allowances for lawmakers in a move it said was to save the taxpayer Sh1billion.
SRC reduced the lawmakers’ basic pay by Sh90,000 to Sh621,250.
The commission also touched on the mileage allowances of the MPs which resulted in car grants for all state officials being scrapped, resulting in MPs being paid car maintenance allowance at a rate of Sh356,525 per month.
MPs will also be reimbursed a claimable mileage of one return journey per week at the rate of 116.63 per kilometre, based on a car of engine capacity not exceeding 3000cc.
The MPs had earlier threatened to initiate the process to disband the SRC after slashing their allowances.
The decision to reinstate the allowances was agreed upon after a chaotic session in which the MPs accused SRC of playing politics with their salaries. The media was locked out of the proceedings and MPs who divulged the details sought anonymity for fear of a backlash from the public.
The MPs complained that their salaries have remained constant since 2007 while other public officers have benefited from annual increments throughout this period
Everybody has benefited from an increment, not us. Then to worsen the situation we are subjected to salary cuts at the end of every Parliament cycle. It is unfair,” a lawmaker told SRC chair Lyn Mengich during the meeting that lasted for four hours.
It was a meeting characterised by heckling as MPs put up a spirited fight, arguing that unlike other public officers they are forced to dole out money to support their constituents.
When the induction of MPs started on Monday, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula vowed to ensure that the welfare of the lawmakers was enhanced.
Wetang’ula promised lawmakers that he will push for the reinstatement of allowances that were scrapped by SRC.
“Before we are done with the induction this week, I’ll let you know your privileges. Nobody in their right frame should interfere with your allowances that is your entitlement. SRC should not frustrate us but facilitate us,” he said while addressing the week-long induction of MPs with the theme “Setting the stage for a smooth take-off.”
“I will ensure that you are well facilitated so that you do your work uninterrupted,” he added.