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Salaries team open to dialogue- Serem

Tuesday May 28 2013

Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairman Sarah Serem (left) and the vice chairman Daniel Ogutu during a press conference at the commission offices in Nairobi January 10, 2013. The SRC has said it was open to dialogue in regard to State officers' push for higher pay May 28, 2013. FILE

Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairman Sarah Serem (left) and the vice chairman Daniel Ogutu during a press conference at the commission offices in Nairobi January 10, 2013. The SRC has said it was open to dialogue in regard to State officers' push for higher pay May 28, 2013. FILE 

By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU [email protected]

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has said the proposal for higher pay from the Parliamentary Service Commission was one of those the commission was assessing and that it was open to dialogue.

Speaking to the Nation on Tuesday, the SRC chairperson Sarah Serem said governors and members of the county assembly were also among the State officers who had joined the MPs in the push for a pay review.

"We receive proposals from all our stakeholders. We have a culture of dialogue at the commission where we listen to all stakeholders, but the final decision is ours,” said Ms Serem.

“Our biggest concern (as we look at these proposals” is whether we can afford them today, and whether we can sustain (the pay) tomorrow”.

She appealed to the public to drop the confrontational tone over the MPs’ pursuit and said it was wrong for the public to “isolate” MPs for negotiating better terms.

“The SRC is open to dialogue. I do not want us to isolate Parliament, they are part of the system. Parliament is just one of the stakeholders. These parliamentarians are our leaders. Let’s treat them with dignity,” Ms Serem said.

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Her view was that all the State officers with whom the commission is charged with setting the pay were free to submit proposals to the commission, meet the commission, and dialogue in order to “quell any tensions that may arise”.

“We will be fair and objective in our decisions. We will decide on what is feasible in the Kenyan context,” the SRC chairperson said.

Ms Serem noted that the SRC had “an overall view” on the pay.

MPs are scheduled to debate a report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation, whose main proposal will be to quash the SRC’s Legal Notice that set the lawmakers’ pay packets.

“The SRC has reduced the remuneration of the office of the member of Parliament while maintaining the remuneration for the Judiciary and other State offices, currently in office. This is discrimination against the office of the MP, in flagrant violation of the provisions of article 27 of the Constitution,” the report noted.

The Parliamentary Service Commission, has through a letter signed by the Speaker Justin Muturi and dated May 22, 2013 talked about an “agreed” position between it and the SRC.

Ms Serem said no agreement had been reached yet, but the proposals will be assessed on merit.

Top of the list is that the Speaker has conceded that MPs be paid the Sh532,500 pay as proposed by the SRC, with an annual increase of Sh44,375.

The PSC has asked also the salaries commission to double the sitting allowances for MPs from Sh5,000 to Sh10,000; raise the perks for the vice chairperson of a committee from Sh8,000 to Sh15,000; and double that of the chairperson from the current Sh10,000 to Sh20,000.

In the letter, the Speaker had also asked the SRC to confirm that the Sh5 million car grant for the MPs, with duty fully paid, is also part of the emoluments. Whenever the MPs travel to the constituencies, the PSC has asked the salaries commission to confirm that the applicable rates for mileage claims are the rates of the Automobile Association of Kenya.