President Uhuru Kenyatta will receive millions of shillings as send-off package in gratuity when he finally leaves office at the end of his term following the August 9 General Election.
And should he lose out in his bid to succeed his boss, Deputy President William Ruto will also walk away with a handsome send-off package, as will Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
The 2022/23 Budget expenditure estimates published by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani and shared with Parliament show that Mr Kenyatta will receive a gratuity of Sh72 million and a monthly pension of Sh667,000 once out of office. The new vote has been allocated Sh72 million for the year starting July and will increase to Sh79.2 million in the 2024 financial year.
In the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, 2003, a retiring president is entitled to “a lump sum payment on retirement, calculated as a sum equal to one year’s salary for each term served as President.”
The President’s package is nearly three times what President Kibaki received when he retired in 2013 after two terms that began on December 30, 2002. Mr Kibaki went home with a golden handshake of Sh25.2 million.
Mr Kenyatta’s generous retirement package comes at a time when there is a hue and cry over the high cost of living due to a depressed economy. Similarly, retired civil servants’ perks have lately come under sharp focus, especially after allocations to the vote increased by large margins, even as the government insisted that it had put in place austerity measures to deal with a growing public sector wage bill. Retired presidents’ monthly pay allocation had risen from Sh64 million from the 2016/17 financial year to Sh74 million in the 2019/20.
In anticipation of Mr Kenyatta’s retirement, the Treasury has also increased an allocation for the retired presidents’ pension from the current Sh34.4 million, which caters for former President Mwai Kibaki’s retirement benefits, to Sh42.42 million starting July.
This translates into an additional monthly pension of Sh666,700 that matches the amount that will be due to Mr Kenyatta in line with the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, 2003.
A retired president’s once-a-month pension is set at 80 per cent of his pensionable salary, which is equivalent to 60 per cent of Sh1.44 million monthly pay offered to a sitting president. With his annual pension perks standing at Sh34.43 million, Mr Kibaki receives a monthly allowance of Sh2.86 million, making him the highest paid individual in Kenya.
The estimates for the DP and other designated state officers’ gratuities have risen from Sh430 million in this financial year to Sh600 million in the next financial year. However, it was not immediately clear how much the DP will receive as the send-off package as the allocation is lumped together with the two speakers and other retired state officers such as former chief justices, former speakers, former vice presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Under the proposed budget, Mr Kibaki’s monthly pension slightly dwarfs the allocation set for Mr Kenyatta and Dr Ruto, whose combined average monthly pay is Sh3.3 million.
The High Court in 2015 stopped the government from paying allowances worth millions of shillings to Mr Moi and Mr Kibaki after finding that they were an unnecessary burden to taxpayers.
Sections of the law that the court nullified entitled the two to a Sh300,000 house allowance per month, fuel (Sh200,000), entertainment (Sh200,000) and utilities (Sh300,000).
The law also entitles retired presidents to two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers and four drivers and bodyguards, pushing the office and homeworkers to 34 under the scheme funded by taxpayers. Retired presidents are also entitled to four cars, including two limousines, replaced every four years.
Taxpayers also cater for workers in Mr Kibaki’s Nairobi office that was bought at Sh250 million three years ago.
Meanwhile, retired civil servants have received an additional Sh3 billion to cater for their monthly pension. The National Treasury has allocated Sh43 billion for civil servants’ pension in the next financial year but it rise to Sh51 billion in 2024. MPs have also been allocated more than Sh1 billion for their pension. Only MPs who have served for more than two terms are entitled to a monthly pension. Mr Yatani has also increased the allocation for military pension by nearly Sh1.3 billion to Sh14.5 billion.
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