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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,13TH AUG 2020-The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to reject Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill which will see more than MPs who retired between 1984 and 2001 receive a monthly pension of 100,000 shillings for life.
SRC Chairperson Lyn Cherop Mengich, in a statement dispatched to newsrooms on Thursday, said the commission is opposed to the Bill because was processed without the its input as the agency which is constitutionally mandated to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State Officers.
Mengich said the pension is an employment benefit should have been referred to the SRC whose mandate it is to make recommendations to the government on the review of pensions payable to current and past holders of public offices.
“The Bill is therefore in contravention of Article 230 (4) (a) of the Constitution, as pension is an employment benefit, and therefore falls within the mandate of SRC. Any proposal for review of pensions for Members of Parliament should be duly submitted to SRC with justification for consideration,” she said.
The SRC Chairperson pointed out that the implementation of the proposed amendment will, therefore, add into the already high pension expenditure, at the taxpayers cost.
“If the Bill is enacted into law, as proposed, it shall not only pile additional burden to taxpayers, but shall set a precedence and ripple effect for other categories of public officers to demand for equal treatment and fairness. This shall therefore make the public pension liability unaffordable and fiscally unsustainable,” she noted.
Mengich said the National Treasury had already advised the legislators against increasing retired MPs’ pension to Sh100,000, citing sustainability challenges for the country’s already strained budget.
“Data from the National Treasury and Planning indicates that the pension expenditure has been on the rise, and is projected to increase. The actual expenditure increased from Sh27.9 billion in the Financial Year (FY) 2013/14 to Sh86.7 in the FY 2019/20. This figure is expected to cross the Sh100 billion mark in the current FY 2020/21,” the SRC boss.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale had cautioned the House in his contribution to the Bill as pointed out that the lawmakers could be legislating in vain considering the Treasury’s adverse opinion.
He argued from his experience as Leader of Majority, the Bill ought to have been prepared, in consultation with the Attorney General, the National Treasury and the concerned ministry.
“If at this stage they are given an adverse opinion there is a high likelihood that they will give a more adverse opinion to the President when it comes to signing of this Bill,” the Garissa Township MP said.