Taxpayers lobby group blames Judiciary for meddling with SRC role

The judiciary. Photo/MOnicah Mwangi
The judiciary. Photo/MOnicah Mwangi

National Taxpayers Association has asked the Judiciary to respect the Salaries remuneration commission role in the constitution.

Addressing journalists at a Nairobi hotel during a media breakfast meeting, NTA National coordinator Irene Otieno said the recent High Court ruling to remove the SCR powers to control salaries will stifle the commission’s mandate.

“This gazette notice, as with many others that the SRC had circulated earlier, was in line with the commission’s constitutional mandate as stipulated in article 230 of the constitution,” NTA said.

The High Court on 13 December made a ruling that quashed the Gazette Notice 6518 circulated by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to cap the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) and other state officers.

“The constitution mandates the SRC to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all state officers as well as to advise the national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers,” Otieno said.

She warned that the role of the SRC is most urgent at this time when the country is grappling with the budget deficit, unacceptably high taxation on its citizens and unsustainable wage bill.

“We, the taxpayers, are solidly behind the SRC and register our unwavering support of its key role in safeguarding the spirit of the constitution,” she said.

She said the ruling will open room for a ballooning wage bill to unsustainable levels.

“The net effect of high salaries and allowances is that the available financial resources for public service delivery and development are grossly reduced. We will not be able to pay our debts,” she said.

Otieno said any increment on salaries and allowances to elected leaders means a higher tax burden on the taxpayers.

“We can already witness this by the new taxes in the Finance Bill 2018 such as the presumptive tax, mobile money transfer tax and the bank transfer taxes. This ruling will force the Government to further burden the taxpayers,” she said.

Atieno said the article 230 allowed SRC to monitor, set and regulate salaries.

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