The Star (Nairobi)

11 July 2014

Kenya: MCAs Spending 'Gross Disservice' to Kenyans - SRC

The Salaries and Remunerations Commission has announced a review of all allowances payable to state and public officers with a view to streamline public spending.

The commission's chair Sarah Serem who described the spending by MCAs as "gross disservice", said that they have received several complaints of frivolous travel expenditures whose benefits are yet to be seen to any degree of satisfaction.

Serem added that the high expenditure across the public sector is likely to destabilise the economy if unchecked.

"The economic sustainability of our country is at stake if our county leadership cannot exercise prudent financial custody which goes against the Commission's goals to ensure public wage bill sustainability," Serem said.

The statement by the SRC comes in the wake of public outcry over the spending of county assembly representatives.

A report by the County Revenue Allocation commission revealed that the county lawmakers earn hefty sitting allowances of up to Sh262,088 in Nairobi County per person per month.

"The average sitting allowance per MCA per month ranges from Sh17,219 in Isiolo County to Sh262,088 in Nairobi," Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo said.

According to the report the MCAs have also spent Sh4.9 billion on foreign and domestic trips in the first year of county budgets.

CRA chair Micah Cheserem had recommended a spending cap on the budgets for MCA, but the ward representatives have now threatened legal action on the commission if the spending ceilings are enforced.

The SRC which will be working with CRA, the Controller of Budget and the National Treasury said that, "If need be, we will abolish allowances that lend themselves to misuse of public funds," as it reviews and sets facilitative allowance for state and public officers.

Serem also took issue with the additional staff hired by county reps and said that the additional staff remunerations are not include in the public spending structure. Serem concluded by saying that public funds should be used in service to Kenyans according to Article 10, Chapter 6 of the constitution.

"Public funds are provided in line with a commitment to serve. This is a provision that comes with responsibility; if that responsibility is disregarded, then the provision will be withdrawn without hesitation," Serem warned.

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