, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – Kenyans will have to wait a little longer to know the way forward on the 16 per cent Value Added Tax on petroleum products, as the National Assembly and Treasury kicked off a series of talks to resolve the impasse.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting with Treasury CS Henry Rotich, Attorney General Paul Kihara and other top members of the Executive, Speaker Justin Muturi said he is optimistic a solution will be found but he did not give timelines.
“I am very optimistic that a solution will be arrived at and all the issues that Kenyans are concerned about will be addressed and this will be achieved through a series of meetings that we have lined up with other stakeholders,” he said on Thursday at Parliament buildings.
Muturi broke his silence on the subject at a time a section of Members of Parliament have written to his office requesting him to convene a special sitting to allow members deliberate the issue.
The Treasury CS who also spoke to journalists urged Kenyans to be patient while exuding confidence that they will resolve the stalemate.
“We have started consultations today and in due course we shall be updating members of the public on the progress but eventually a solution will be found,” he assured.
A section of MPs have vowed to impeach the Treasury CS for failing to respect Parliament’s decision to have the new VAT suspended for two years in their recommendation to President Uhuru Kenyatta who is however yet to sign the Finance Bill 2018.
The Head of State’s signature on the Bill is the only hope for Kenyans but there is no guarantee that he will sign it with close sources indicating he might send it back on the Floor of the House with his reservations.
Members of Parliament who are currently on a one-month recess may be forced to cut short their holiday and convene for a special sitting in the event President Kenyatta fails to sign the Bill.
According to article 115 of the constitution clause 2, if the President refers a Bill back for reconsideration, Parliament may either amend the Bill in light of the President’s reservations or pass the Bill a second time without amendment.
If Parliament amends the Bill fully accommodating the President’s reservations, the appropriate Speaker shall re-submit it to the President for assent.
Parliament, after considering the President’s reservations, may pass the Bill a second time, without amendment or with amendments that do not fully accommodate the President’s reservations by a vote supported by two-thirds of members of the National Assembly.