Fresh pressure for Kenya MPs to pay tax

June 15, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – Debate on MPs refusal to pay tax still continues to anger many Kenyans who have to bear the heavy tax on their small salaries.

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Programmes Officer Priscilla Nyokabi on Monday said it was unfair for Parliament to continue getting allocations yet it is the only one that consists of a class of people who don’t pay tax.

“The sadness of having people not contributing to the kitty being the biggest beneficiaries of the kitty, it will be one thing if MPs were paying a tax of 30 percent from their Sh800,000 monthly earnings, like all other Kenyans are doing,” she said.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta last Thursday announced a Sh2 billion allocation to Parliament, part of which was to construct a walkway for MPs to cross from Parliament to their offices at Continental building.

Some of the money will also be used to renovate the House.

Ms Nyokabi felt angered that despite persistent calls by Kenyans, MPs still continued to look for excuses to evade taxation.

“You don’t have to wait for the law. That is a fake excuse, if you want to pay tax as a House, that is a decision you can take now and Kenya Revenue Authority will begin to tax you immediately,” she said.

Ms Nyokabi also said she was surprised that Mr Kenyatta did not repeat the measures put by former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya on taxation of MPs. She urged the civil society, religious groups and the media to continue pressing for accountability and responsibility of political leaders in the country.

Devolved funds

While she welcomed the idea of strengthening the devolved fund, the lawyer felt that there were no streamlined committees in the constituencies to manage the funds for the benefit of all constituents.

She said most of the committee members comprised of MPs friends, relatives, and campaign managers.

She begged for transparency and accountability to ensure the money does not only reward the MPs’ cronies.

“The huge CDF allocation is another chance for MPs to reward his friends, they are not allocated to the entire constituency, we know most of the MPs have their campaign managers as the CDF managers,” she said.

Ms Nyokabi said an oversight strategy should be put in place to ensure the funds serve their purpose.


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