Parliament passes top politicians benefits bill
The government will now implement the new salary policy as the Chamber of Deputies yesterday finally passed a bill determining allowances and benefits for top politicians.
This came after a joint committee reached a consensus on matters, including allowances and benefits upon retirement.
MP Esperance Mwiza, the Chairperson of the Chamber of the standing committee on social affairs, presented a report to the House noting that issues were discussed at length.
One of the issues cleared was the Senate’s earlier proposal that a top politician’s spouse be catered for in terms of burial expenses and death allowances. Members of the Chamber of Deputies previously disagreed with this.
“For us we decided that the spouse of a top politician be not considered in this law because he or she is not a top politician. We discussed this matter with the Senators and they too finally understood that it was not logical,” Mwiza said.
The Senate’s earlier support for giving extra allowances and benefits to top politicians upon retirement was also thrown out.
Mwiza noted that when a top politician in the second, third and forth category concludes his or her term, the government sets up a mechanism of sending them off with appropriate assistance. She said that a politician in the second category also continues to get previous benefits for a full year, while the next category receives monthly allowances and other benefits for six months.
“We feel that there should be no more support for former politicians as what is already there is quite enough,” Mwiza said.
“We came to the conclusion that for a politician to be picked from the population, to come and represent the interests of Rwandans, he or she should not be the one to then come and get such huge benefits,”
The Chamber of Deputies, in June, agreed that top politicians should get allowances and fringe benefits but refused what they termed as unwarranted extravagance, especially a proposed lump sum allowance for vehicles of politicians in the second category; the Prime Minister; the President of Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
Deputies noted that the category was already sufficiently catered for. Senior political leaders are put in four categories on the basis of the weight of their offices.
The first category comprises the Head of State. The third category comprises Ministers, the Vice Presidents of the Senate, the Deputy Speakers, State Ministers, and for the first time, Governors of Provinces and the Mayor of the City of Kigali. The fourth category comprises Senators and Deputies.
Northern Province Governor, Aime Bosenibamwe, told The New Times on Monday that he welcomes the fact that Governors are now included among top politicians.
“It will of course help aid us during the accomplishment of our development mission and duties but we do not work harder just because we have been raised, in terms of this categorization,” Bosenibamwe said
“It does not, really, change our speed and momentum in fulfilling our work as we shall continue to work harder as before, but we must thank government for it. We are working harder to change the welfare of our people for the better.”
Allowances and benefits allocated to the President will include: a monthly allowance equivalent to the salary allocated to a State High Political Leader of the second category with an addition of 40 per cent of that salary; a fully furnished residence; transport facilitation; entertainment allowance at work; communication and residence allowance, as well as security.
Leaders in the second category shall each be entitled to: a monthly salary fully equipped residence, transport facilitation, entertainment allowance, communication allowance, residence allowance, water and electricity bills paid for by the State, as well as security.
Those in the third category, will get allowances that include: a monthly salary; accommodation allowance; guest entertainment allowance at work; communication allowance; security; a State grant for home equipment provided only once; State contribution for the purchase of own vehicle; and lump sum for own vehicle’s maintenance.
Senators and Deputies will get a monthly salary; accommodation allowance; communication allowance; State contribution to the beneficiary for the purchase of an MP’s own vehicle and lump sum for the vehicle.
A seemingly relieved Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, told The New Times that even though it comes a little bit late, “it is never too late to do good things.”
“The bill is passed and we will now implement the new salary policy in conformity with the economic reality of our country and the political direction of Rwanda.”