The Star (Kenya)
Uhuru rejects bid to hand retired MPS Sh100,000 monthly pension
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday dealt a blow to hundreds of former MPS when he rejected a bid by Parliament to award retired lawmakers a lifetime pension.
The President declined to assent to the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2019 sponsored by Minority leader John Mbadi.
Mbadi’s bill sought to finance an enhanced pension scheme for MPS who served between 1984 and 2001.
The National Assembly on August 4 voted to amend the retirement benefits law to award ex-lawmakers a gratuity and monthly pension for life.
The monthly pension for the more than 375 former MPS was to rise meteorically from the current low of Sh2,000 to as much as Sh100,000 monthly.
But President Kenyatta said there are challenges with implementing the proposal as the members were not contributing to pension at that rate.
He said members’ pensions are calculated according to contributions paid to the scheme during their parliamentary term.
“The proposed amendment fails to provide for such calculation and makes no reference to the members’ contributions,” Uhuru said.
The President further posited that the Bill overlooked the mandate of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission under the Constitution. The SRC had rejected the bid to pay former MPS the perks with the President reiterating it was the commissions’ place to set and review benefits for all state officers including MPS.
President Kenyatta further said the pension payment would cost an average of Sh444 million annually and risked staging similar demands by other retired public officers. “The resultant ripple effect is unaffordable and fiscally unsustainable,” he said. He has thus recommended to the National Assembly to delete the proposed amendment. To overturn the President’s proposal, the National Assembly would be required to muster a quorum of 233 members.
An amendment whose effect overrides the President’s reservations or negates his proposed text would require two-thirds voting threshold, Muturi said in an earlier ruling.