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MPs may miss ‘severance pay’ after Treasury allocates insufficient funds

The Treasury on Wednesday indicated its readiness to allocate Parliament Sh36 billion in the next financial year, signalling unwillingness to fund the “severance pay” legislators have been demanding for the eight months they say they will lose from a five-year term.

In the estimates submitted to the National Assembly on Wednesday, the Treasury has allocated Parliament Sh36 billion, some Sh4.6 billion more than in the current financial year.

The additional Sh4.6 billion would be enough to fund the Sh2.8 billion the 416 members of Parliament in the National Assembly and the Senate are entitled to by law.

But it would not be enough for the severance pay, estimated to cost at least Sh3.3 billion based on the Sh1.1 million on average that the MPs receive as salaries and allowances. But it could be more as senators would also be paid.

The Treasury’s indications come ahead of a meeting scheduled for Thursday with the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

By Tuesday morning, the last time the Budget team met, there was no indication of an agreement between the SRC, Treasury and the PSC.

SEVERENCE PAY

When the issue of the severance pay was brought up last week, the Budget team, chaired by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi, asked the three institutions to meet separately and discuss the proposed pay.

The PSC is understood to be keen to have the severance pay included in the next budget along with gratuity, with some members of the commission reported to have been wary that a lawmaker could sue for the eight months lost.

However, some members of the Budget and Appropriations Committee privately said the ruling of judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and David Majanja in July 2012 on the election date could crush the bid by their colleagues.

The three judges categorically informed candidates in the March 2013 elections that their term would be short.

Whatever date the first elections are held on, said the judges, the next elections must be conducted on the second Tuesday of August of the fifth year from that date.

“Hence, the term for the next President, members of Parliament, governors and members of the county assembly may be shorter than five years as a consequence of the transitional provisions,” ruled the judges.

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