The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of things and that includes gatherings of any kind hence the drastic growth in dependence on virtual meetings. As such, a task force was appointed for MP’s to explore all options available on a possible technology solution. Now, I have no problem with the solution. What I fear is the execution. For many of us, we had to switch to what we already have. It could have been your laptop or your phone. However, our MPs want to take it a notch higher by not only wanting free laptops, but specifically, MacBooks.
MPs in Kenya Demand MacBooks
According to the Business Daily, the findings of the task force suggest that the National Assembly will use the laptops to conduct both its chamber sittings as well as committee business. Their main aim being to adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols on containment of COVID-19.
“The committee recommends that the National Assembly should consider facilitating members of the National Assembly with laptops for the conduct of virtual meetings,” said parliamentary Broadcasting and Library Committee in report tabled in Parliament last Thursday.
Just to reiterate my earlier statement, I have no problem with the solution, it’s the execution that angers me. For them to ask for MacBooks is really overstepping.
Based on assumptions, the taxpayer is likely to pick up a bill of up to KES 105 million for purchase of laptops for the 350 MPs. This is assuming each gets an Apple MacBook Pro, whose cost is as high as KES 300,000 for a fully speced-out model.
Should it go lower, the cheapest latest MacBooks cost at least KES 100,000 which is still a lot of money for taxpayers. Not to mention they just added the VAT and Excise Duty percentage, it’s gonna be a larger blow to Kenyans. Additionally. the committee, said MPs preferred laptops to iPads for the virtual meetings.
Our MP’s are already some of the best paid government officials in the world. According to the BD, aside from their already heavy paychecks, MPs also draw
- KES 5,000 per committee sitting
- Domestic subsistence KES 19,000
- house allowance KES 250,000
- medical KES 10 million
- KES 5 million car grant
- A KES 20 million mortgage
- Also KES 7 million car loan
With all this, I’m pretty sure they can afford their own laptops. Plus, for virtual meetings, MacBooks don’t have the best cameras anyway. They’d be better off buying a cheaper Windows laptop and adding Webcams. But that’s just me. What do you think?