Former MPs could soon receive a financial windfall after a House committee recommended that they should receive Sh3 billion compensation for the years they served in Parliament.
The 370 MPs who served between 1984 and 2002 will each receive approximately Sh8 million as compensation, in a first step to address the plight of former lawmakers, some of whom frequent Parliament seeking handouts from sitting members.
The report by the Trade and Finance committee asked Treasury to factor the payment in the 2017-2018 budget, as it sought to put to rest a long-running tussle between former lawmakers and Treasury on compensation.
Under the recommendations, each MP will receive Sh100,000 monthly, to be calculated from June 2010 when Parliament debated and passed the Akiwumi Tribunal report that proposed compensation for the former MPs.
To effect the payment, the committee has proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Pensions Act to increase the rate at which MPs contribute to their pension scheme. The new law will then apply retrospectively to the former MPs.
“A former Member of Parliament who, having served in Parliament between the year 1984 and 2002 and is entitled to pension under this section, and whose monthly pension amounts to less than Sh100,000, shall be entitled to, with effect from July 1, 2010, a monthly pension of Sh100,000,” stated the report.
“The Government of Kenya, through the National Treasury, avails funds within the 2017/18 financial year for implementation of the new Sub-section 8(3) of the Parliamentary Pensions Act, Cap 196,” the committee recommended.
The tribunal report recommended a minimum monthly pension for each of the estimated 500 former MPs. Some of them have since died.
The new move comes just a day after current MPs exerted pressure on Treasury to pay them Sh3.3 billion as severance pay for their current term. If Treasury accedes to the twin demands, it means the country should prepare to pay current and old lawmakers a total of Sh6 billion after the next budget.
Compensation for old lawmakers could have far-reaching implications, a concern captured by Treasury in its submissions to the House team.
“A higher budgetary ripple effect should other retirees require equal treatment, including possible litigation,” Treasury wrote in its letter dated November 27, 2016.