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LAST UPDATE: 24/9/2008 - 5:58PM EAT

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How much it will cost the country

I saw this article from SUNDAY OBSERVER and I just had to share it with you all. Currently, there are strikes going on in higher learning institutions to complain about the level of funding the students get from the Government. This thing seems to happen every year; the Government never seems to be able to resolve it because they say they lack the funds to. Yet in these hard times, and a looming global economic crisis; at a time when teachers are complaining about the low wages they get, and citizens cry about the lack of affordable health-care, the Government has the audacity to propose an increase in Parliament!?

2008-11-16 12:00:00
By The Guardian on Sunday Team

The newly proposed parliament size that will increase the number of MPs from the current 232 to 360 in 2010 will cost the taxpayers an extra stunning Sh43.94billion, should the proposal by the ruling party be approved.

The amount includes salaries and allowances for five years, interest- free car loan and gratuity for the lawmakers.

This amount can fully funds 5000 university students for four years or can build 380km of tarmac roads.

If the proposal submitted by the ruling party sail through, the taxpayers will have to pay Sh15.984billion as annual salaries and allowances to their law makers.

This amount is 55percent extra cost to what taxpayers who are reeling with war against poverty in a country where half of the 38million plus population still survive in a less than a dollar per day, pay their current 232 MPs.

With the current size of the parliament, the nation is paying a heft pay amounting to Sh10.3billion per year, apart from interest free loans granted to the legislators as well as the annually sitting allowances.

The interest free loans for the MPs� posh cars will cost Sh7.2billion if after 2010 election will adopt the proposed 360 lawmakers.

Not only that but also, taxpayers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay the gratuity amounting to Sh9billion to proposed 360MPs when their five year term expires.

This is a 55 percent extra to what the current legislators will pocket in 2010 when their term expires.

But this cost is subject to increase, depending on how the lawmakers would review their heft pays after the 2010 election as well as the country`s economic trend.

Currently, the MP receives Sh1.5million as basic salary, Sh700,000 as constituency allowance, Sh500,000 as fuel allowance, plus another Sh 500,000 as driver/ car maintenance allowance, per month.

The lawmakers also receive another Sh500,000 for personal assistants per month.

During parliamentary sessions a legislator earns Sh80,000 per day as sitting allowance.

The longest session is the budget session which takes more than 70 days from mid-June to August compared to three other sessions lasting a fortnight each in January, April and October each year.

The MPs also are entitled to receive a gratuity amounting to Sh25million after the end of their five years term.

In terms of size, the Tanzania parliament will be bigger than highly developed African countries like South Africa, according to the available online information.

South Africa with an estimated population of over 45million plus annual Gross Domestic Product valued at $170billion owns the quarter of Africa�s economy, according to the World Bank report of 2007.

In East Africa, the proposed parliament will be leading in terms of size, being followed by Uganda which has 332 MPs, while Kenya will be the third with 213 MPs.