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Sunday, November 28, 2021

What it will cost you to sustain MPs annually, if BBI is passed

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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If you pass the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitutional amendment bill, then Sh30billion of your taxes will be used to take care of at least 547 MPs.

The revelation is contained in the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) document presented to the joint sitting of the Justice and Legal Affairs committee of the National Assembly and the Senate’s Justice and Human Rights committee considering the BBI Bill.

“Some of the proposed amendments with direct financial costs are those relating to the increasing the number of constituencies for the election of membership of Parliament,” the PBO document reads.

PBO, which advises Parliament and its committees on fiscal matters, had its expert cost estimate on the Bill sought by the committee. 

Based on the 2013 gazette notice by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), each of the 416 members in the two Houses gets paid Sh4.4 million in monthly salaries, allowances and indirect costs.

And now the effects of the Bill sponsored by the BBI will start biting in the 2022-23 financial year which will see the budget increase to Sh32 billion by 2024-25, while putting the average annual inflation rate at five per cent.

Currently the National Assembly’s allocation is Sh18.5 billion but should the BBI amendment bill be adopted at the referendum, the amount will move to Sh26.3 billion by the 2022-23 financial year.

In addition, the Senate spends Sh3.6 billion annually but with BBI, the figure is set to increase to Sh5.4 billion in 2022-23.

However, the BBI promoters will have to deal with the nine cases filed in court challenging the constitutionality of the process.

The hearing of the eight cases filed in Nairobi and later consolidated into one has been concluded with judgment to be issued on notice. The hearing of the case filed in Kakamega is however, yet to start.

Sh1.2 million is in direct earnings, Sh2.1 million in indirect income, which include domestic and foreign travel as well as constituency office maintenance. About Sh1.1 million is in indirect cost – utilities and office maintenance.

The parliamentary budget does not, however, include the Sh31.73 billion required to run the two chambers and a car grant of Sh2.77 billion for the MPs.

The 453 MPs in the National Assembly will draw a Sh2.3 billion car grant and Sh470 million for the 94 senators.

The BBI Bill was introduced to the two Houses on February 18 last year after being approved by a majority of the 47 county assemblies proposes to increase MPs in the National Assembly to 453 from the current 349 – 290 elected in the single member constituencies, 47 County Woman Representatives and 12 special nomination slots.

The bill also seeks to increase senators from the current 67 to 94, being a man and a woman elected in each of the 47 counties in compliance with the two-thirds gender rule.

To attain the numbers in the National Assembly, the Bill proposes to amend Article 89 (1) of the Constitution to increase the number of constituencies from 290 to 360.

This means increasing members from the single member constituencies in the National Assembly to 360.

In scrapping the 47 Woman Count Representatives, it proposes to amend Article 97 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

It proposes four members – being two women and two men representing persons with disabilities.

It further seeks to delete Article 97 (1) (c) on the 12 nomination slots in favour of two members – a man and a woman representing the youth.

Based on the trend of election of women members of Parliament in the National Assembly, the Bill projects that 33 MPs will be elected.

To ensure not more than two-thirds of MPs are of the same gender, 87 women MPs “may be” nominated.

The establishment of the Office of the Prime Minister and two deputies will cost the taxpayer about Sh4 billion.

The PBO document assumes that the new post shall be similar to that of the current Deputy President in the executive arm of government and will require a similar amount.

The allocation to DP’s for the 2020-21 financial year is Sh1.5 billion. The PBO document further assumes that each of the two Deputy Prime Ministers will take an equivalent of 80 per cent of the PM’s budget.

The Bill also proposes to create the Office of the Leader of Official Opposition in the National Assembly, whose functions shall be similar to those of the Minority Leader in the National Assembly.

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