Parliament Secretariat will deduct allowances for members of Parliament (MPs) who absent themselves from sittings without valid reasons, the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya has said.
Msowoya communicated that chairpersons of parliamentary committees and the Business Committee—which comprises the leadership of political parties on both sides of the House—have made the resolution.
Members of Parliament (MPs) get K40 000 per day as subsistence allowance and K10 000 sitting allowance which is paid out before the meeting starts.
Abscondment of meetings has been rampant during the current sitting of Parliament in Lilongwe as legislators are currently deliberating the Mid-term Budget Review tabled last Friday by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe .
Msowoya said that rampant absenteeism in the 193-seat National Assembly had been noted among MPs, a development that was not in line with the representative democracy ideal.
“The Business Committee has noted the high absenteeism of members in the past two weeks and has resolved that leadership of each political party should brief its members about the necessity of attending each sitting as outlined in Section 41 of the Standing Orders,” the Speaker said.
Standing Orders 41 (3) states: “A member who is absent without seeking leave of absence shall forfeit all allowances during the period of absence.”
The Speaker can grant leave of absence, according to Standing Orders 206 (3), on the two grounds of illness or family emergency to enable an MP attend to public business locally or abroad.
The seat of an MP can only be vacated if the member is absent without leave from the Speaker for three successive meetings of the assembly, according to Standing Order 206 (4).