, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 20 – MPs have two weeks to marshal 148 votes to overturn the president’s decision to reject the Finance Bill that would have given them a Sh9.3 million send off package.
Parliament can overturn the president’s move if two-thirds of the sitting parliamentarians vote for the Bill, thereby arm-twisting the president to assent to the law.
The lawmakers maintained that there was nothing wrong with the amendments they made to the Bill to add a Sh9.3 million send-off pay for each MP.
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende directed the House Business Committee (HBC) to set time for debate of the crucial money Bill before the House adjourns.
“I direct that the presidential memorandum be circulated to all MPs and ask that the HBC programme it for consideration by the House on or before Thursday 6 December 2012.”
Marende said President Kibaki had argued the amendment was unconstitutional and untenable with the current economic state.
Failure to pass the Bill by January exposes the government to legal action by companies seeking to block collection of taxes that will be lacking a legal backing.
Such action would leave the government without the new revenue streams it is expecting to raise billions of shillings with which to pay for salary deals it signed with teachers, lecturers and doctors last month.
The list of new tax measures introduced through the Finance Bill includes the 10 percent excise duty on commissions charged for mobile money transfers and higher taxes on beer.
The Treasury faced a similar predicament last year following a stand-off between the Executive and Parliament over amendments to the Finance Bill that sought to regulate interest rates.
MPs in October supported Wajir West MP Adan Keynan’s amendment to the Finance Bill 2012 awarding the MPs Sh9.3 million each as severance allowance.
The introduction of a new clause 21A wanted the severance (winding-up) allowance to be calculated at 31 percent of the basic salary of Sh200,000 from January 15, 2008, when they were sworn in until August 26, 2010. This would translate to each MP pocketing Sh62,000 every month for the 31 months.
The amendment also proposed that the second phase of the package be calculated at 31 percent of the gross salary of Sh851,000 from August 27, 2010 to January 14, 2013, when their term expires.