MPs form team to probe inflation causes

May 11, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11- Parliament on Wednesday passed a Motion to form a select team of MPs who will look into the causes of the spiralling cost of living.

The Motion was moved by Budalang\’i MP Ababu Namwamba who noted that the sharp rise in inflation and cost of living had devastated the lives of millions of Kenyans and posed a threat to national stability.

"Do not go where the path leads, go where none exists and leave a trail; we have an opportunity to investigate and consider options that may have never been considered before but will nonetheless have the capacity to move us forward," Mr Namwamba had argued.

The Parliamentary Select Committee will be required to table in the House, within 30 days, a comprehensive report with substantive recommendations on both immediate and long-term remedial measures.

Mr Namwamba said the proposed 11-member Committee would, among others, look into the government\’s priorities as well as explore how Parliament can focus on ways to address the cost of basic goods.

Those proposed to the committee are Mr Namwamba, Martha Karua (Gichugu), Elias Mbau (Maragua), Rachel Shebesh (Nominated) and Shakila Abdalla (Nominated).

Others are Charles Kilonzo (Yatta), John Mbadi (Gwasi), Eseli Simiyu (Kimilili), Joyce Laboso (Sotik), Nkoidila ole Lankas (Narok South) and Mohamed Gabow (Wajir North).

"The committee will inquire into the factors fuelling the sharp price inflation and cost of living in the country and table in Parliament within 30 days a comprehensive report with substantive immediate and long-term remedial measures," he said while moving the Orange Democratic Movement party-sponsored Motion.

The Budalang\’i MP said that the matter was broad and required multiple remedial measures which will compliment the government\’s willingness to accept proposals for lasting solutions to the challenge.

He led other MPs in calling on Parliament to consider proposals such as trimming the size of the Cabinet, increasing the amount of taxation payable by MPs and also cut down on non-essential trips abroad by government Ministers and officials.

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo said the high cost of living was a challenge that cut across a multiplicity of sectors and, therefore, required multi-pronged remedial measures.

"If our government was efficient we could not have gone this way. This government has proved on many occasions that they lack the commitment to do anything," he said. "This government lacks the commitment to fight crime, to defend our borders. It also lacks the commitment to reduce the cost of living."

MPs last Wednesday skipped a crucial session that could have led to the formation of a team to look into the rising cost of living. Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo cautioned the national government against inaction saying the increased cost of living has elicited riots in some parts of the country.

According to figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, inflation jumped to 12.05 percent in April from 9.2 percent recorded in March driven mainly by rises in prices of fuel, maize and wheat flour and other essential commodities.

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