VICE-President and justice minister George Kunda has recommended to Cabinet to pay about K5 billion to Lusaka-based parliamentarians, most of whom are ministers, attending the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) as facilitation allowance, according to the Post.
The money will be paid to Vice-President Kunda, ministers and their deputies whose total number is 55, Deputy Speaker Mutale Nalumango, NCC chairperson Chifumu Banda and his deputy Faustina Sinyangwe, Chawama parliamentarian Violet Sampa-Bredt and Benjamin Mwila.
According to a Cabinet memorandum dated January 2010, Vice-President Kunda recommended that Cabinet approve payment of utility/facilitation allowance to Lusaka-based members of parliament at the rate of K650,000 per day backdated to December 19, 2007 when the NCC started its sittings.
Vice-President Kunda stated that there was no other option apart from paying the parliamentarians his recommended amount and that the matter was “very urgent”.
“I recommend to Cabinet that it approves the payment of utility/facilitation allowance to Lusaka-based members of parliament (MPs) attending the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) at the rate of K650, 000.00 per actual day of sitting from the time the conference started sitting in December, 2007,” stated Vice-President Kunda in his capacity as justice minister. “It is necessary to pay the Lusaka-based MPs the utility/facilitation allowance at the proposed rate in order to reduce the apparent gap in the remuneration between the Lusaka-based members and those who reside outside Lusaka.”
Vice-President Kunda stated that the remuneration gap was too wide and unjustifiable to the Lusaka-based parliamentarians who were not receiving subsistence and transport allowances.
“Rationale and background: There is need to narrow this gap which has reportedly caused discontent amongst the affected members. The payment of the utility/facilitation allowance is expected to cost K4, 998, 500.00. Impact: Participation of the members is anticipated to be enhanced,” Vice-President Kunda stated. “Other options considered: None. Consultations: Minister of Finance and National Planning and other stakeholders. Implementation plan: as soon as funds are received. Urgency, timing(s) and immediate action: Very urgent.”
He stated that currently NCC’s members of parliament who reside outside Lusaka are paid subsistence allowance at the rate of K650, 000.00 per day, sitting allowance at the rate of K500, 000.00 per day, transport allowance at the rate of K100, 000.00 per day and transport refund at K300,000.00.
He stated that Lusaka-based members of parliament were paid sitting allowance at the rate of K500, 000 per day and transport allowance at the rate of K100, 000 for ordinary parliamentarians.
“In order to maintain consistency, the same uniformity-principle should apply to payment of allowances to all MPs who are attending the NCC by virtue of their positions as members of parliament,” Vice-President Kunda stated. “The payment of the utility/facilitation allowance is estimated to cost K4, 998, 500, 000.00 as shown in the schedule attached to this memorandum as annex I. This will cover the period beginning 19th December, 2007, when the conference commenced its sittings to 17th September, 2009 when the conference held its last sitting in that year.”
He stated that the payment of the allowance was anticipated to boost morale and enhance participation of the affected members in the conference deliberations.
“The Minister of Finance and National Planning and most of the stakeholders were consulted and supported the proposal. Due to the urgency of the matter, the memorandum was not circulated to members for comments,” Vice-President Kunda stated. “The payments will be made to the members as the Ministry of Finance and National Planning makes funds available. I request Cabinet to authorise the Secretary to the Cabinet to convey its decision before the confirmation of the minutes.”
Vice-President Kunda stated that currently all parliamentarians were treated equally under the National Assembly conditions.
“For instance, constituency allowance is paid to all MPs regardless of whether or not they have constituencies. The same applies to utility allowances which are paid uniformly to all MPs. Further, under the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Emoluments Regulation of 2009, Statutory Instrument No. 62 of 2009, MPs, whether nominated or elected, are paid as follows: (a) a prescribed salary; (b) a special allowance; (c) utility allowance; and (d) a constituency allowance, in addition to other allowances such as sitting allowance; transport allowance; and board and lodging, if they were accommodated at the National Assembly Motel,” stated Vice-President Kunda.
According to the schedule of estimates of proposed payment of facilitation allowances to members of parliament based in Lusaka from December 2007 to September 2009, ministers Lameck Mangani (home affairs), Dr Brian Chituwo (science and technology), Gladys Lundwe (lands), Catherine Namugala (tourism) and Ronald Mukuma (presidential affairs), Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa (communications), deputy ministers Simon Kachamba (labour) and Allan Mbewe (agriculture) will each be paid K105.9 million.
Vice-President Kunda will be paid K77.3 million, finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane K70.8 million while NCC chairperson Chifumu Banda K88.4 million.
Ministers Lieutenant General Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha (information), Peter Daka (agriculture), Sarah Sayifwanda (gender), Kenneth Chipungu (sports), deputy ministers Angela Cifire (information), Moses Muteteka (local government), Todd Chilembo (justice), Friday Malwa (community development), Mwangala Mubita (tourism), and Mubika Mubika (communications) and former defence minister George Mpombo will each get K89 million.
Ministers Kenneth Konga (energy), Austin Liato (labour), deputy ministers Vera Chiluba Tembo (environment), Chileshe Kapwepwe (finance), Professor Fashion Phiri (foreign affairs), Misheck Bonshe (home affairs), Mwendoi Akakandelwa (energy), David Phiri and Hastings Lubinda Imasiku (energy), former minister of science and technology Gabriel Namulambe and Nchelenge parliamentarian Benjamin Mwila will each be paid K77.3 million.
The late local government minister Benny Tetamashimba’s estate is entitled to K77.3 million while late lands deputy minister Hamir Nasim-ul Gani’s estate is entitled to K70.8 million.
Others who will be paid K77.3 million include ministers Mike Mulongoti (works and supply), Maxwell Mwale (mines), Michael Kaingu (community development), Dr Kalombo Mwansa (defence), Bradford Machila (livestock), Daniel Kalenga (North Western Province), National Assembly deputy speaker Mutale Nalumango, deputy ministers Albert Mulonga (agriculture), Richard Taima (education), Clement Sinyinda, Dr Christopher Kalila (works and supply), Lucy Changwe and Violet Sampa-Bredt.
Ministers Dora Siliya (education), Felix Mutati(commerce), Kapembwa Simabo (health), Kabinga Pande (foreign affairs), Estarckio Kazonga (local government), John Chinyanta (Northern Province) deputy ministers Bornface Nkhata (mines), Gaston Sichilima (Office of the Vice-President), Elijah Muchima (local government), Mundia Ndalamai (youth), Dr Lwipa Puma (commerce) and Chrispine Musosha (science and technology) and Faustina Sinyangwe will be paid K70.8 million each.