MPs to window shop for office furniture in China
We have all at sometime uttered the words “I don’t believe it” when confronted by some incredible act of stupidity but when it comes to the actions of some of our MPs we do actually believe it, however crazy their latest act of folly is. Now members of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) are planning a hugely expensive window shopping trip to China to look at buying furniture for their offices. Would you believe it? Oh yes we would!
“I CANNOT STOP THEM”
The trip is meant to facilitate the procurement of office furniture for MPs offices at County Hall and it seems like speaker Justin Muturi, who is also the chairman of the PSC, has bowed to the pressure from the majority of members of the Parliamentary Committee who insist on the taxpayer-funded shopping trip to China going ahead.
“I cannot stop them. Wengi wape (let the majority have their way) but it’s not prudent”, said Muturi as quoted by the Daily Nation on Friday.
WINDOW SHOPPING WILL COST MILLIONS
The cost of the trip will run into millions given that up to nine members of the PSC might be going and considering that the cost of air tickets to Beijing are Sh85,000($985) per person and not forgetting the cost of accommodation at a minimum of Sh26,000 ($300) per night.
In case it skipped your mind, MPs were also awarded hefty allowances following the extensive salary row between them and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). For instance, according to the revised Parliamentary travel rate card, an MP enjoys a travel allowance of Sh78,000 ($920) per day when touring Asian cities.
BUY KENYA, BUILD KENYA: WHY IMPORT WHEN WE CAN GET THE FURNITURE LOCALLY?
The Kenya Forum highlighted sometime back how Kenya was spending millions on imported goods and products, most of which could easily be produced locally. By importing more than we export, the country looses millions of jobs as we face soaring unemployment rates facing the country.
Last year, members of the Parliamentary Commission wasted a lot of public resources when they opted to fly to Israel to window shop for furniture for the renovated parliament chambers but later parliament bowed to public pressure to get the same locally hence giving the tender to Kenya Prisons.
The move by the parliamentary commission, which is in charge of overseeing the welfare of MPs, Senators and the staff of the two Houses, to import the furniture from China actually goes against the Jubilee government ‘s manifesto where they promised to create one million jobs on a shift in the public procurement policy by prioritizing locally produced goods through an initiative dubbed ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’, which will aim to make imported goods expensive to consume.
In the Jubilee manifesto, the coalition promised to enhance youth affirmative action on Government procurement to 25 per cent in a bid to allow youth-run enterprises to secure government contracts.
The Jubilee government just marked its first 100 days in office and it appears as though members of the parliamentary commission are ignorantly not aware of what their manifesto says regarding imports.