NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Assistant Ministers have got a rude shock in their July pay, after the government went ahead and deducted taxes without notice, which have now been remitted to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Agriculture Assistant Minister Kareke Mbiuki on Thursday expressed shock at the tax deductions terming the move unjust.
“The government has started taxing ministers all ministerial allowances. Our pay slips are empty from July… This is ridiculous!” he complained.
The Tharaka Nithi MP revealed that only their basic pay was being deducted leaving them with Sh380,000.
He said they will now get Sh311,000 marking an additional Sh69,000 tax remittance.
Assistant Ministers get house allowance of Sh80,000, ministerial allowances of Sh100,000 and domestic servant allowance of Sh55,000 on top of the basic pay of Sh200,000.
The move by KRA comes amid pressure on MPs to pay taxes as required by the Constitution.
The President, the Prime Minister and the vice President have already surrendered their tax arrears to KRA.
Other leaders who have so far cleared their arrears include Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru and MPs Gideon Mbuvi (Makadara) and Mutava Musyimi (Gachoka).
They joined Peter Kenneth (Gatanga) and Kangundo’s Johnson Muthama who have been remitting their taxes since 2008.
A section of MPs are however adamant that they will not comply with constitutional requirement: “I am not running for presidency, so I will not pay,” said one MP.
A debate on whether KRA should use force to tax MPs remain controversial, with many of them giving excuses that they were doing too much in their constituencies and also that they were promised the new law would not apply to them.
Others have also said they are paying mortgages.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has accused key state officers of betraying MPs and explained that they had sent letters just before last year’s referendum telling MPs that they would not pay taxes.
Most of them have argued that they were duped into passing the Constitution with pledges that they would not be taxed.
Despite their many excuses, civil society groups and members of the public have been pushing them to pay taxes saying the law should apply to all Kenyans since the rest of them were paying duly their taxes.
With pressure from all corners and after top leaders and some of their colleagues having taken a step to pay taxes, the rest of them may be left with no option but to adhere to the law requirement on taxation.
Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga has announced that Members of the Judiciary will pay tax in accordance to the law.