Au­dit calls for re­duc­tion of MPs, MCAs

Report handed to Par­lia­ment says Kenyans are spend­ing too much on their elected lead­ers, and this has caused wage bill to bal­loon

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - BY OLIVER MA­THENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

Kenyans are over-rep­re­sented by ex­or­bi­tantly paid law­mak­ers and should slash the num­ber of elected lead­ers and re­duce their al­lowances, an au­dit report on the Con­sti­tu­tion says.

The report pre­sented to Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day says Kenyans are spend­ing far too much on their far too nu­mer­ous MPs and MCAs in 47 coun­ties.

The report will be de­bated by Par­lia­ment at a date to be set. Law­mak­ers will de­cide whether some of their many lu­cra­tive po­si­tions should be abol­ished or their num­bers re­duced, and whether their salaries and ben- efits should be cut for the sake of the pub­lic good.

“Put to­gether, the cost of run­ning a bi­cam­eral Par­lia­ment, the over-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Kenyans and the ex­or­bi­tant al­lowances paid to MPs are con­tribut­ing to the ris­ing wage bill. The al­lowances alone, in some in­stances, tend to go be­yond the ba­sic pay,” the report says.

On av­er­age, Kenya spends Sh20.6 mil­lion an­nu­ally on a sin­gle MP and on that MP’s par­lia­men­tary staff – Sh7 mil­lion more than it spent be­fore the 2010 Con­sti­tu­tion.

How­ever, the report cau­tions that the bal­loon­ing and un­sus­tain­able wage bill can­not be blamed on im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion alone.

It says there is a lot of waste by both na­tional and county gov­ern­ments, ev­i­denced by an un­prece­dented in­crease in un­sup­ported ex­pen­di­tures.

The au­dit found that the per­cent­age growth of the pub­lic wage bill has been ris­ing dra­mat­i­cally — by 15.42 per cent in 2012 and by 16.75 per cent in 2013.

“Be­tween 2012 and 2014, the econ­omy grew by an av­er­age of 5.2 per cent. The pub­lic wage bill, there­fore, grew at a faster rate than the econ­omy,” the report says.

The report was pre­pared by the Work­ing Group on the So­cio-Eco­nomic Au­dit of the 2010 Con­sti­tu­tion, chaired by Au­di­tor Gen­eral Ed­ward Ouko. The group was formed fol­low­ing a res­o­lu­tion by the Na­tional As­sem­bly in Fe­bru­ary 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to the report, the au­dit found Kenyans are over-rep­re­sented by a to­tal 2,600 MPs, Sen­a­tors and MCAs. This, the report says, means that one law­maker rep­re­sents 16,000 peo­ple. The Kenyan Par­lia­ment is one of the world’s largest.

Ethiopia with a pop­u­la­tion of 99 mil­lion — more than dou­ble Kenya’s — has a to­tal 1,989 na­tional and lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Nige­ria with 175 mil­lion peo­ple has 1,447 rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

While the global norm is a Par­lia­ment with about 290 mem­bers, Kenya’s Par­lia­ment — the Na­tional As­sem­bly and the Sen­ate — has 416 mem­bers.

“The au­dit finds that Kenyans are over-rep­re­sented. Kenya has more rep­re­sen­ta­tives (MPs, Sen­a­tors and MCAs) com­pared with coun­tries with sim­i­lar pop­u­la­tions and size of econ­omy,” the report says.

The report adds that Kenya’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives are among the most highly paid in the world, re­ceiv­ing more than law­mak­ers in some ad­vanced economies.

While the ba­sic salaries of MPs and MCAs may be com­pa­ra­ble to those of their coun­ter­parts else­where, their al­lowances make them some of the best paid.

The report quotes the Econ­o­mist magazine, which re­cently ranked Kenyan leg­is­la­tors’ salaries, ex­clud­ing al­lowances, at po­si­tion 19 of 29 coun­tries.

It says some law­mak­ers get al­lowances that are equal to or more than their ba­sic salaries. This is not only against the law but also con­trib­utes to the soar­ing wage bill.

The report rec­om­mends, among other mea­sures, that the Salaries and Re­mu­ner­a­tion Com­mis­sion re­duce and tightly cap al­lowances paid to pub­lic of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing State of­fi­cers. It cites MPs, Sen­a­tors and MCAs.

It adds the SRC should de­velop guide­lines for Par­lia­ment to fol­low to en­sure that no more than 60 per cent of the cur­rent gross pay for MPs, MCAs, and other State of­fi­cers is paid as ba­sic salary. No more than 40 per cent shall con­sti­tute al­lowances, it rec­om­mends.

The au­dit looked at other as­pects of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the report says there has been good progress in im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“The Con­sti­tu­tion is gen­er­ally de­liv­er­ing as per ex­pec­ta­tion. There is im­prove­ment in the de­liv­ery of ser­vices, es­pe­cially at the county level. Health, agri­cul­ture, in­fra­struc­ture, and Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment Ed­u­ca­tion are gen­er­ally shown to have im­proved,” the report says.

How­ever, the report also makes sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions aimed at stream­lin­ing the work­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion, es­pe­cially in line with de­vo­lu­tion.

There are a many re­dun­dant staff mem­bers in the 47 county gov­ern­ments who were in­her­ited from old lo­cal gov­ern­ments and who should be re­trenched, it says.

The au­dit report says county gov­ern­ments should be allocated more re­sources for de­vel­op­ment to make de­vo­lu­tion work more ef­fec­tively.

It urges na­tional and county gov­ern­ments to un­der­take a “value for money anal­y­sis” be­fore en­gag­ing in any pro­ject re­quir­ing pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture.

The report rec­om­mends that the mem­ber­ship of in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sions be re­duced to a max­i­mum of five, from the cur­rent nine.

It wants the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion to de­velop pol­icy guide­lines on how re­cruit­ment by na­tional and county gov­ern­ments should re­flect re­gional and eth­nic di­ver­sity.

“The na­tional gov­ern­ment and county gov­ern­ments have not been ef­fec­tive in en­hanc­ing re­gional and eth­nic di­ver­sity in re­cruit­ments to pub­lic of­fices. This has had the ef­fect of lim­it­ing the ex­tent to which na­tional co­he­sion and unity can be achieved.” the report says.




Na­tional As­sem­bly Bud­get Com­mitte Chair­man Mu­tava Musy­imi and Au­di­tor Gen­eral Ed­ward Ouko in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day

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