Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Members of Parliament are set to get a $4 million windfall in the next few days in outstanding allowances, which would see some legislators pocketing about $30 000 as Treasury seeks to clear the debts owed to the lawmakers.
The money is over and above what the legislators have been getting in previous weeks as Treasury paid them allowances covering the period from September last year up to March this year.
Parliament has since submitted bids to Treasury covering the last five months, which would pave way for Treasury to clear all the outstanding allowances for the Eighth Parliament.
Those who are expected to make rich pickings are those MPs who have been regulars in the august House and those with remote constituencies but would use their private accommodation like private houses in Harare as they would not be booked in hotels by Parliament.
In an interview yesterday, Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed the development saying they had gone a long way in clearing their debts.
“We have already paid MPs up to March. Right now MPs are getting their outstanding allowances. In fact, we have paid the bulk of what we owe them. What now remains is payment of the last five months, that is from March to July. We expect the money to be released in the next few days because we have submitted bids,” said Mr Chokuda.
He could not, however, say how much in total they received or how much each MP got in the last batch and what an individual legislator would get for the remaining months.
“As we speak, MPs are getting their allowances in respect of the previous period. The balance for March up to July we will pay them before the month comes to an end,” he said.
Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Lovemore Matuke concurred saying Treasury committed itself to clearing all the outstanding allowances.
“We hope payment will be made in the next few weeks. Everything has already been sorted out, we got our allowances in tranches and what is now left is the last five months,” he said.
Some MPs who spoke to The Herald said they were receiving varied amounts depending on attendance.
“The money covers sitting allowances, lunches and fuel, among others. Those that would make a killing are those that have their private accommodation, like those with houses in Harare, the logic is that they should be paid off for saving costs in accommodation, so they are entitled to half of the hotel fees per given day,” said one of the MP.
Another MP said on average they were getting $25 000.
“I got about $7 000 because I came through a by-election recently and you can imagine what other colleagues who have been there for the past five years are getting. It is in the region of between $20 000 to $30 000,” he said.
Over the past months, parliamentary business has been disrupted as legislators pressed to have their allowances paid. At one stage, a pre-Budget seminar was delayed as MPs insisted that they wanted concrete time frames on when they would be paid.
In another instance, Parliament had to prematurely adjourn after MPs refused to conduct the business of the day demanding their outstanding allowances given that their term of office was coming to an end. Most of them complained that they were subsiding Parliament by coming to work using their own resources.