Parliament has written Treasury proposing a 137 percent basic pay hike for MPs, a development which, if approved, will see each legislatorâ€™s monthly salary rise from K126 000 (about $504) to about K300 000 (about $1 200).
On average, the parliamentarians are seeking a 50 percent increase in their overall packages; hence, a jump from K581 500 (about $2 326) to K875 000 (about $3 500) per month.
With 193 seats in the National Assembly, currently with 191 members due to two vacancies in Mzimba, the proposal would also push MPsâ€™ total monthly wage bill to K168 875 000 (about $675 500) from K112 229 500 (about $448 918).
The pay proposal follows a recent meeting between Minister of Finance Dr. Ken Lipenga and the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) on personal emoluments for MPs, Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) and development for the National Assembly.
While confirming meeting the PSC on the matter, Lipenga on Tuesday said: “Their proposal came before they met me. The meeting was inconclusive. I indicated at that meeting that there was need for further meetings between the technical team at Parliament and the technical team at my ministry.”
Lipenga said the ministry will need what he called “a carefully reasoned response” on the matter.
Secretary to the Treasury Randson Mwadiwa confirmed receiving the proposal, but refused to divulge details.
A source at Parliament said the letter, dated June 13 2012 and signed by Deputy Clerk of Parliament for Corporate Affairs Renard Mapemba, details proposed increments on basic pay, housing, motor vehicle maintenance allowance, utility allowance and constituency allowance.
Although MPs are ideally supposed to live in their constituencies, they receive a tax-free housing allowance currently pegged at K45 000 (about $180). They propose a 122 percent hike to K100 000 (about $400).
MPs also want their tax-free motor vehicle maintenance allowance raised by 10 percent from the current K250 000 (about $1 000) to K275 000 (about $1 100) per month. They currently receive a tax-free constituency allowance of K60 000 (about $240), which they want increased by 67 percent to K100 000 (about $400).
The MPs have not proposed changes to their tax-free utility allowance currently at K100 000.
Using current Pay-As-You-Earn (Paye) calculations on the basic pay of K126 000, their net basic pay is K96 000 (about $384). If the net core salary is added to the rest of their benefits, their total take-home is K547 750 (about $2 191). This will rise to K789 050 (about $3 156) if the 137 percent increment on their basic salary is endorsed.
Mapemba on Tuesday could not comment on the matter, saying: “For orderliness, we have a spokesperson at Parliament. Please talk to Mr. Ian Mwenye.”
Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda, who chairs the Parliamentary Service Commission, also said Treasury was better placed to comment on the matter.
The proposed K875 000 gross pay for MPs is above both a principal secretary who has worked close to 10 years in that position and Clerk of Parliament.
A Principal Secretary with 10 years experience receives a gross pay of K490 000 (about $1 960), according to Sam Madula, secretary for Human Resource Development.
On the other hand, the Clerk of Parliament is slightly below K600 000 (about $2 400).