NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Robinson Njeru Githae moved into the Treasury on Monday morning to take over his newly assigned role as acting Finance Minister with a promise to make passage of the Finance Bill his number one priority.
Githae who takes over from Uhuru Kenyatta who stepped aside last week, promised to seek consensus from parliamentarians for the smooth passage of the Bill. He further assured that he was capable of handling matters at the Treasury.
“I am under no illusion whatsoever that this an easy task but I will do my best. The first priority is the Finance Bill; as soon as Parliament resumes we will try and negotiate with all those people who have proposed amendments,” said Githae adding that lot of consultation will be required for him to satisfactorily discharge his duties.
In December 2011, the Grand Coalition Government’s parliamentary group defied persuasive efforts of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga vowing not to pass the Finance Bill without amendments to control bank interest rates and the cost of fuel.
During the short handing over ceremony held at the Treasury, Kenyatta introduced Githae to his the team, and expressed confidence in the minister’s ability to handle what is widely considered Kenya’s most influential ministry.
Githae, who is still the Nairobi Metropolitan Minister, will also be tasked with finalisation of the Supplementary Budget for 2011 as well as resolving outstanding issues on the Public Financial Management Bill before its enactment by Parliament.
“I ask for support from the staff and the media… even in marriage there is honeymoon so I would like a honeymoon for at least 100 days to learn the ropes,” he said admitting that it will take him some time to adjust to his new responsibilities.
Other tasks before Githae include the preparation and presentation of the budget policy statement to Parliament by the end of February and the 2012/ 2013 budget by April.
The acting minister is also expected to submit the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill to the Cabinet for approval as well as forwarding the Bill to the Attorney General for publication.
Further, Githae is expected to oversee the development of currency compliance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution which requires that no currency should have the portrait of an individual.
Kenyatta stepped down last week following the confirmation of charges against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after a three-year stint at the Treasury.
Kenyatta has however maintained that he will not resign as the Deputy Prime Minister maintaining that only Parliament can force him to relinquish position through a no-confidence vote.