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More MPs offer to pay tax

NAIROBI, November 24 – Two more Members of Parliament (MP) have offered to have their allowances taxed.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and Tetu’s Francis Nyammo wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly on Monday asking him to tax their pay and perks.

Their move follows a similar one by Kangundo legislator, Johnson Muthama who last week wrote a letter to the Clerk and the Commissioner of Income Tax. National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi confirmed to Capital News that he had received Mr Muthama’s letter.

Addressing a news conference on the issue Mr Kioni said: “I did say during my campaigns that I would have my salary taxed and I don’t have any reasons to change what I pledged to my voters.”

The Kenya Revenue Authority will hence be deducting Sh180,000 from their allowance from the end of November.

The action taken by the MPs comes two weeks after fellow legislators arm-twisted Acting Finance Minster John Michuki into dropping a proposal in the Finance Bill to tax their hefty allowances.

The proposal was introduced by the former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya when he read the 2008 budget.

The 222 MPs each earn over Sh800,000 per month, out of which Sh200,000 is their basic salary for which they pay taxes. The rest of the money is tax free. They justified their evasion of tax saying their constituents expect them to personally address most of their issues.

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The three legislators who pledged to contribute to tax appealed to their colleagues to follow suite. Earlier Speaker Kenneth Marende had stated that MPs who wanted to be taxed were welcome to instruct the Clerk’s office to do so.

Mr Marende said: “Members are welcome to contribute more taxes than the law provides for. The extra tax will be deducted and sent to Treasury.”

He however said that since there was no law in place, not all MPs could be compelled to pay taxes.

Meanwhile MPs are on Tuesday expected to hold an informal Parliamentary session (Kamukunji) to discuss various amendments made to the Finance Bill.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said among issues to be discussed at the meeting would  be the taxation of MPs. Mr Musyoka who refused to give his stand on the taxation debate said the government had been listening to the various comments made on the issue and would consider them.

“It is a very delicate issue and we want to deal with it as such. I don’t think it is a matter we want to popularise any of our positions,” the VP said.

The Finance Bill is to come up for debate during Tuesday afternoon’s session of Parliament.

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