By Getrude Matayo
Members of Parliament (MPs) are now seeking to further amend the Parliament Pension’s Act to ensure they will continue enjoying full medical cover even after they are voted out of the office.
They will get 11.6 million shillings send-off package at the end of each year term if the proposals by Parliament pensions management committee are approved.
The committee, through its Parliamentary Pension (Amendment) Bill, Wednesday tabled proposals that will see the MPs choose between making monthly pension contributions and the 11.6 million gratuities payable at the end of each term.
Speaking during the debate on the proposed amendments to the Act by Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime, the MPs said most ex parliaments are suffering under the heavy cost of medical expenses and there is a need to ensure they are covered.
Under the proposed gratuity scheme, MPs will be entitled to an equivalent of 31 percent of their basic salary pay for the 60-month term without contributing a cent.
Lawmakers who opt to contribute for pension will however not get gratuity but remain in line for a lifelong monthly payout of at least 125,000 shillings should they exit after serving for at least two terms.
“Those who are serving this House for the first time, you are not sure if you are coming back, Kenyans might not like it, but anyway this must be done,” Minority Leader John Mbadi said during the debate
The proposed law further opens a window from pension contribution MPs who have served more than one term to elect to be paid gratuity of pension at the end of the parliamentary term they are serving at the time.
Some of the MPSs wanted the House to go further and cater to former Councilors and MCAs who they said are suffering in the cold despite serving the country in an exemplary manner.
The one-off payment is yet another reflection of the growing taxpayer’s burden of keeping to public servants comfortable in retirement.
They said parliament should be given a chance between gratuity and refund of pension contributions.
The new gratuity pay will be calculated at the rate of 31 percent of an MP’s basic pay which the salaries and Remunerations Commission SRC fixed at 621,250 shillings through a gazette notice in 2017.
This means each MP opting for gratuity will receive 11.55 million, being 31 percent of 37,275,00 shillings earned over a five-year term.
If the 481-member bicameral Parliament, including Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate, elect to be paid gratuity, taxpayers will pick up 4.848 billion shillings for golden parachute payments.
On Wednesday, MPs approved a 100,000 shillings monthly pension for former parliamentarians who served between 1884 and 2001.