April 2, 2011

PM queries over MPs' benefits

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has directed the newly launched National Assembly Administration Commission to prepare some mechanisms that would clear controversy surrounding MP's benefits after their every five-year-term. He said despite the law states clearly on the life of Parliament, which ends when the President dissolved it, yet payments to MPs continued after the dissolution. “This issue had troubled us for so long and it unclear whether it was legal to pay the MPs while their tenure had expired; it is also clear that when the Parliament is dissolved, there is no allowance and salary," he explained.

The Premier said the commissioners had the mandate to advice the president on how to resolve the issue so that the institution does not contravene the constitution. Mr Pinda told the commissioners that it was in their mandate to advice the President regarding the MPs benefits but without breaking the laws of the land. "Educate the honourable MPs as well, so that they don't question when they see changes," Mr Pinda said when he launched the new commission in Dar es Salaam. For her part, the chairman of the commission, Ms Anne Makinda, who was the vice-chairperson in the past commission, challenged the government to increase the budgetary allocation for the National Assembly to enable it meets its targets. "We all know that the number of MPs has increased from 285 in 2005 to 357 this year; this means that even the provision of services to them expands," Ms Makinda, who is also the Speaker of the National Assembly said.

The PM, however, informed the commission that the government had been continuously increasing the budget for the Parliament so as "to serve the honourable MPs accordingly." "The budget for in 2006/07 was more than Sh26 billion but it has increased dramatically to more than Sh70 billion in 2009/10, which is more than 165.5 per cent increase." (The Citizen Daily)

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