, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – The Parliamentary Budget Committee on Tuesday asked Members of Parliament not to pay taxes until the Parliamentary Service Commission, together with the Attorney General and the Kenya Revenue Authority worked out modalities through which the taxes will be paid.
Speaking during a session where the committee engaged members of the public, Chairman Elias Mbau said it was unfair for MPs to be subjected to taxes in the middle of their term arguing that they needed time to brace themselves for the measure.
He added that MPs were under the employment of the PSC which should be tasked with the responsibility of making the payments on their behalf.
"We are employees of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and we don\’t have a trade union like teachers which can advocate for our issues. When MPs are challenged in one way or the other who is their defender?" he posed.
Mr Mbau further defended his colleagues from accusations that they were refusing to pay taxes saying they would comply with the directive after the tax structures were worked out.
"Look at what Hon Mutava (Musyimi) has done. I think he had some reserve (cash) somewhere and he quickly went and paid. If I had the some reserve somewhere, I would do the same but until it happens I will say that we just continue with the way things are," he said.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi on Monday remitted tax arrears amounting to Sh3.3 million and Sh1.9 million respectively to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
On Tuesday Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Tourism Minister Najib Balala, Information Minister Samuel Poghisio, Housing Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru and Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau all communicated their intention to remit their tax arrears to the taxman.
Speaking during the launch of Kenya Yearbook which showcases various aspects of the country, Mr Musyoka and Mr Poghisio said they would pay the taxes so as to comply with the Constitution.
The VP however admitted that he did not immediately have the money to settle the taxes adding that he would contact the KRA to ascertain how much he owed it as well as how to settle the debt.
"I did not have any money under my pillow to go and clear the dues immediately but I will pay. I will go see the KRA and then we will negotiate for a workable solution to the issue," he said.
The VP also cautioned Kenyans against demonising the legislators saying they were all eager to clear their arrears.
Both Mr Balala and Mr Kamau said they would start paying their dues on July 1.
"In the meantime, I have started negotiations with the Kenya Revenue Authority with a view to organising a payment plan for the tax arrears," said Mr Kamau.
Kisumu Town East MP Shakeel Shabir however maintained that he would not pay the taxes until the sticky matter was resolved. He instead took issue with the KRA and the Finance Ministry claiming that they were politicising the issue.
He also argued that the onus to remit the taxes on behalf of MPs lay with the PSC.
"I also know that the reason they are doing so is because this budget committee and the current Parliament have brought the Treasury into line. This is just a reaction to that because now the Budget committee is here and the Finance Ministry will only be a cashier," he argued.
"The demigod status of the Finance ministry no longer has a place," he claimed.
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