MCAs sitting perks drop below Sh1bn after salary review
The average spending on a Member of County Assembly’s (MCA) sitting allowance for the nine months to March dropped by more than half to Sh33,136 following the last year’s cut on State officers’ perks and benefits.
The latest Controller of Budget (CoB) report shows the average monthly sitting allowance earned by the MCAs declined by 61 per cent from the Sh84,875 they earned in the nine months to March last year.
This marks the biggest drop since the onset of devolution and the first time spending on the ward representatives’ sitting allowances over a period of nine months went below the Sh1 billion mark.
“This expenditure translates to 24 per cent of the approved MCAs committee sitting allowance budget and a decline by 61.3 per cent attained in a similar period of FY 2016/17 when Sh1.73 billion was incurred,” said CoB Agnes Odhiambo in the report
During the period under review, the County Assemblies spent Sh670.1 million on MCAs committee sitting allowances against an approved budget allocation of Sh2.7 billion
The review meant that the new crop of representatives elected on August 8 elections are not expected to earn monthly sitting perks exceeding Sh80, 000 from the previous Sh124,800.
Aside from the SRC reviews on salaries and perks, the drop in average sitting allowance is linked to MCAs long absence during the August 8 General Election campaigns.
The allowances have been on a steady upward trajectory since the MCAs took office in May 2013, causing concern that the perks were gobbling up county government revenues with minimal corresponding impact in terms of public service.
In the nine months to March, two counties paid monthly sitting allowances in excess of the maximum Sh80,000 that the SRC has recommended.
Turkana and Samburu led the allowances gravy train in the review period with each MCA pocketing Sh83,255 and Sh82,921 monthly respectively.
This is in comparison to their more frugal counterparts in Narok, Machakos and Mandera who received the least from meetings at Sh11,574, 12,023 and 12, 317 a month respectively.
The SRC, which sets salaries for public servants, unveiled the 2017-2022 pay structure, which replaced the previous one, slashing MCAs pay from Sh165,000 to Sh144,375 a month. Sitting and mileage allowances for MCAs and MPs were abolished as part of efforts to tame the bloated wage bill, currently accounting for half the government’s tax revenues.