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MP roots for team to tidy up economy

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 27 – Budalang\’i MP Ababu Namwamba wants a Parliamentary Select Committee formed to come up with lasting measures to cushion Kenyans from the escalating cost of living.

While giving the notice of Motion in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Namwamba said the proposed 11-member Committee should, among others, look into the government\’s priorities as well as explore other sources of energy.

He noted that the high cost of inflation and the cost of living was devastating millions of Kenyan and posing a threat to national stability.

"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 wants Parliament to look at 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.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga was on Wednesday expected to brief Parliament on new measures that the government is putting in place to curb escalating cost of living.

Among the members proposed for the committee include Martha Karua, Charles Kilonzo, Elias Mbau, Esieli Simuyu and Mr Namwamba.

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Others are; Rachael Shebesh, Shakila Abdallah, Mohammed Gabow, John Mbadi, Joyce Laboso and Nkoidila ole Lankas.

The Minister for Energy Kiraitu Murungi was last week put on the spot as MPs discussed the current fuel crisis in the country and the rising cost of living. They questioned the role of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) which they accused of being behind the current unprecedented fuel hikes.

While moving the Motion, the Budalang\’i MP said the current situation was caused by the country\’s failure to plan yet it had all indicators that this crisis was inevitable saying focus should not be the International Criminal Court or politics of outdoing each other but the nation should now engage its brains in trying to relieve the common man from the pain of surviving.

Mr Namwamba said the current predicament was as a result of the Energy Ministry allowing the National Oil Corporation to import fuel yet the government parastatal had no capacity hence engaged wheeler-dealers who took advantage of the opportunity to profiteer.

"How can a Kenyan earning Sh200 be expected to buy a litre of kerosene at Sh92 and at the same time put a meal on the table for his/her dependants?"

Gichugu MP Martha Karua said the ERC should be scrapped accusing it for not living up to its mandate. She said the reduction of two shillings for kerosene and diesel was a clear indication that political games were being played in the energy sector.

He said major scandals in the energy sector are yet to be resolved including the multi-billion shillings Triton Oil scandal and thus the Energy Ministry must take responsibility for the suffering of Kenyans.

Ol Kalou MP Erastus Mureithi said the food security issue must be addressed saying policy on fuel trading must be changed to end the practice where the importer is still a retailer of the same commodity translating into profit three-fold.

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