See What the Just Sworn-in 180 MPs You Elected Would Claim as Monthly Expenses and Allowances for the Next 05 Years

See What the Just Sworn-in 180 MPs You Elected Would Claim as Monthly Expenses and Allowances for the Next 05 Years
-Their Salaries and Pension
-Travelling and Daily Allowances
-Housing, Electricity and Telephone Bills
-Medical Bills
-Car Allowance
-Constituency Allowance
-Constituency Office Expenses
-Second Home Expenses
The Plenary Session
of the 9th legislature has just sworn-in all 180 newly elected Honorable members of Cameroon’s National Assembly early today. This, after some six commissions scrupulously went through each MP-elect’s documentation to make sure they were really fit to be called Honorable. After three days of scrutiny, all 180 were found worthy and therefore sworn-in today as Cameroon’s law makers for the 9th Legislature. This, also, after the Supreme Court, in its very last outing in lieu of the Constitutional Council last Thursday October 17, 2013 declared as definitively elected Members of Parliament some 180 Cameroonian men and women from among seven of the over 250 political parties in Cameroon. Although some 37 political parties presented candidates for the September 30, 2013 twin elections, the ruling Cpdm went home with a total of 141 MPs, while its main challenger, the opposition SDF totaled 18 seats up from 16 in the last legislature. The NUDP party managed a paltry five while CDU and others shared the rest. With the official results now known the next issue the taxpayer needs to know is how their stay in the Glasshouse for the next five years would
Impact on Taxes.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Cameroon’s Members of Parliament are one of the highest paid in Africa after Kenya. With a less than five points growth rate, a stagnating GDP and a Minimum pay wage of 29500FCFA, an ordinary Cameroonian law making earns 30 times a Cameroonian minimum wage earner. By the Labour Code, the lowest wage earner in Cameroon must not bag home less than 29500FCFA a month. Huge MPs salaries raise challenging questions for a job whose only professional qualification is the vote of the masses. How ordinary wage earners are supposed to feed themselves on a fraction of what MP get as a salary – let alone their allowances – is beyond the limits of commonsense. Yet, the ordinary Cameroonian taxpayer would have to support the monthly expenses and allowances of the 180 MPs ranging from salaries and pension, traveling and daily allowances through medical bills, car allowances to constituency and second home allowances. All this are contained in
The Allowances and Pension Act of MPs.
The current basic annual salary for an MP in Cameroon is FCFA 900 000. In addition, MPs are able to claim allowances to cover the costs of running an office and employing staff, and maintaining a constituency residence and second home expenses in Yaoundé. Additional salary is paid for appointments or additional duties – such as the chairing of select committees. Due to additional allowances, it is difficult to calculate the annual basic salary of an MP, but for an MP with no additional responsibilities, who stays for a single term of 5 years, the MP’s severance package will raise the taxable salary by over FCFA10 000 000 per year. To effectively understand what an average MP earns in Cameroon, one needs to understand how they are classified by
The House Standing Orders.
The Standing Orders clearly defines who takes home what at the National Assembly. These include a bureau member, a committee member and an ordinary member. ‘Member’ means a member of each house of parliament, that is, senate and lower house. Bureau members would include those elected to various offices at the National Assembly like National Assembly President, Vice Presidents, Questors, Parliamentary Group President, Secretaries and Committee Chairs. Beyond receiving monthly salaries, a member is entitled to other allowances as outlined in the Standing Orders. According to the Standing Orders, ‘there shall be paid to each member in respect of the journey he/she performed for the purpose of attending a session of parliament or a meeting of a joint committee or for the purpose of attending any other business connected to his committee or the business was taking place as well as return journey from such place to his/her place of residence’. If the journey is performed by rail an amount equal to one First Class fare. If the journey is performed by air, an amount equal to the first class or economy class is given. If the journey is performed by road, an amount calculated on the basis of kms is given. In certain circumstances such allowances are extended to spouses of MPs. Other kinds of allowances are also available at intervals of parliamentary sessions and committees. Beyond travelling allowance, MPs are entitled to
Constituency Allowances.
MPs are entitled to constituency allowances such as Office expenses, staff salary, medical bills, telephone, electricity and water bills for himself and members of his family. A major constituency allowance that practically all Cameroonians are aware of is the parliamentary grant of 8 million FCFCA per year. This gives an average MP 40 million FCFA in five years as micro-projects. Beyond theses regular allowances, an MP is entitled to pension depending on longevity in parliament, age and the pension plan he/she opted for. Pension plans are 1/40th, 1/50th or 1/60th of your annual salary. On the death of any MP during his/her tenure, his/her spouse or any dependent shall be entitled to payment during the remaining tenure of the house. The payment shall be the equivalent of the pension had the MP retired. The MPs life is made more convenient by the provision of
Car Allowance.
Before the 2008 readjustments to the Standing Orders at the National Assembly, MPs could be awarded refundable car or Conveyance loans depending on the positions the hold parliament. After the 2008 financial mismanagement scandal when some MPs discovered that while ordinary MPs refunded the car loans House Speaker and the rest of the 23 Bureau members never refund theirs, car allowances now no longer seem to be refundable. The Standing Orders provided that conveyance allowances be slashed off directly from MPs monthly allowances. The Speaker of the National Assembly receives FCFA60 million each legislature for Car allowance. The Vice Presidents are entitled to FCFA50 and 45 million respectively, for non-refundable car loan. Questors receive some 40 million while group leaders and secretaries receive FCFA 35 million car loans. From the third year of the legislature MPs who earlier obtained car loans begin receiving car maintenance allowances. Added to travel abroad and interministerial committee meetings, the 180 MPs give the Cameroon taxpayer
A Run for His Money.
If an ordinary MP takes home FCFA900 000 tax-deductable monthly salary, it means in concrete terms that in five years he/she goes home with FCFA10 000 000. When you add FCFA40 million micro grant loan and average of FCFA40 million car loan plus other allowances, you are talking of FCFA100 000 000 in five years. This means that the 180 newly elected MPs would cost the Cameroon taxpayer over FCFA180 000 000 for the next five years. Compared with the productivity of these 180 MPs at the Glasshouse where they only clap hands and applaud every government bill, more questions are asked than answers supplied. In all fairness to the Honorable MPs, although the power of MPs themselves to decide their pay and conditions has been a source of grievance in some areas, it should be borne in mind that many MPs have frequently voted against large pay rises, and on occasion the discipline of the opposition in Parliament has seen pay rises rejected. Although the idea for a huge salary for MPs was to make politics a “career”, this is still strenuously rejected by many low income earners. Most MPs argue that this makes for both the democratization and “professionalization” of politics. With Parliamentary work being paid, it is no longer necessary to be an individual of independent means to seek elected office. Many out gone MPs have argued that on paper their allowances look big, but that strictly speaking MPs do not receive such allowances as they go to MPs’ staff, landlords, electricity suppliers, insurance companies and philanthropy in the various constituencies. Yet, when one compares with France, India, Uganda and Ghana with higher growth rates Cameroon pays its MPs
Real Fabulous Sums

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