Kibaki, Raila intervene in Finance Bill row

December 19, 2011 2:25 pm


President Kibaki with Raila and Kalonzo/File
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – President Mwai Kibaki is scheduled to chair a Grand Coalition Parliamentary Group meeting on Tuesday in a bid to have Parliament pass the controversial Finance Bill without sneaking in amendments to control bank interest rates and cost of fuel.

All Grand Coalition MPs have been invited to attend the meeting to be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Center scheduled to begin at 11am.

Joint Government Chief Whip Johnstone Muthama on Monday sent invitations to MPs to attend the meeting expected to rally them to pass the Bill without amendments.

“Mheshimiwa, please note that we will hold a Joint Parliamentary Group Meeting at KICC, VIP Lounge tomorrow, Tue 20th Dec, at 10 am to be chaired by H.E The President and The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister. It is VERY important you attend. Thank you. J. Muthama, Govt. Chief Whip.” the text message sent to MPs read.

The legislators led by Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo have accused Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta of trying to arm-twist Parliament and intimidating them for trying to amend the Banking and Energy Acts.

Kenyatta is accused of trying to sabotage MPs’ attempts to control bank interests and cost of fuel through legislation.

“The contention is a move to amend the Finance Bill to cap interest rates at four percent on CBK rates,” Midiwo said.

The war between Parliament and Kenyatta has delayed adjournment of Parliament for Christmas and enactment of the Finance Bill since early December.

The Bill must be passed by December 31 to enable the Government levy taxes legally.

Kenyatta told the House on Thursday that he was not ready to move the Bill because he needed time to analyse several amendments proposed by MPs.

Parliament was then forced to suspend Motions to debate the Bill and adjournment of the House that were listed on the order paper.

The latest spate between the executive and legislature follows reports that MPs were pushing to be paid Sh1.5 million for each year they have served in Parliament.

The proposal would see each MP get a Sh3.3 billion and a Sh16.6 billion for their 5 year term.

House Speaker Kenneth Marende on Thursday dismissed proposed amendments by MPs on the Price Control Essential Goods Act, the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, the Energy Act, the Privatization Act and the Kenya Information and Communications Act as some of the proposed amendments to the Finance Bill that were not within the Bills mandate.

He said the Finance Bill seeks to legalize taxation proposals and the various amendments proposed by a section of MPs were not connected to national finance or to the taxing or administrative provisions of a Finance Bill.


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