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MPs demand to know where fuel levy is

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – The government was on Wednesday morning put to task over fluctuations in fuel levy collections despite a steady rise in the cost of living.

The matter came up in Parliament when Roads Assistant Minister Wilfred Machage told Parliament that the amount of money allocated to constituencies for the construction of roads had declined because the Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) collections in fuel levy had also declined.

Gwassi MP John Mbadi challenged the government to explain the drop yet there had been a rise in fuel prices as well as an increase in the number of new vehicles purchased by Kenyans.

“It is not normal to have the collections of fuel levy reducing the constituency allocation from Sh27 million to Sh20 million in one year.

We need to know why there’s been a reduction in revenue collection between the years 2009 and 2012 yet the prices of fuel has increased and more Kenyans are buying cars,” he argued.

Machage failed to justify the slump saying the Ministry of Finance was in a better position to explain.

He also revealed that in the financial year 2009/2010 KRA surpassed its projections by Sh3.7 billion enabling the government to increase the amount of money allocated to constituencies for roads construction.

“There was a spike in the year 2009/2010 and constituencies got Sh34 million for road construction because KRA collected a surplus so we were lucky,” he said.

Mumias MP Benjamin Washiali had sought to know why the government had reduced the amount of money allocated to constituencies through the Kenya Rural Roads Authority.

Machage however maintained that the allocation was dependent on the amount of fuel levy collected by KRA.

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“The answer given by the Minister was not factual. The allocation of 2008/2009 was about Sh28,000. The following year it was Sh24 million and in the last financial year we had Sh20 million. What informed ministry of this reduction?” asked Washiali.

The legislators also called for investigations into the matter saying there was more than met the eye.

They asked that the concern be taken up by the relevant House committees so that a proper and detailed report could be published.

“The minister is unable to explain why there has been a drop when it should be rising exponentially. I suggest that the relevant committee takes up this issue and interrogate it more,” said Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet.

Washiali also asked the assistant minister to enjoin the Constituency Roads Committees with Constituency Development Fund saying it would enhance service delivery to the grassroots.

The government was also put to task over the delay in releasing funds for free primary and secondary education.

“The high and mighty doesn’t have children in public schools and it is unfair that there is a delay in the release of funds meant for third term,” said Khalwale.

Debate on the issue was however shelved and will resume on Thursday afternoon.

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