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Mbadi asks Uhuru to block 16pc fuel tax, defends CS Rotich

Mbadi says President Kenyatta’s signature is the only hope to Kenyans that the high cost of living that is already unbearable to many, will not skyrocket/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 3 – Leaders continue to pile pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to give assent to the 2018 Finance Bill that contains amendments suspending the new 16pc Value Added Tax on fuel.

On Monday, National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi pleaded with President Kenyatta not to be hesitant in signing the Bill into law in a bid to avert the burden that might be triggered by the new fuel prices.

Mbadi says President Kenyatta’s signature is the only hope to Kenyans that the high cost of living that is already unbearable to many, will not skyrocket.

“Parliament now needs to move quickly through the legal department to prepare the passed bill and make corrections then send it to the President ASAP for his assent,” said Mbadi in an interview with Capital FM News.

Mbadi who spoke a day after his party leader Raila Odinga Sunday exuded confidence that the Head of State will sign the Bill into law, said that time was of the essence because Kenyans have already started feeling the pinch of the new fuel prices.

The new levy on petroleum products was imposed by the Treasury on Saturday despite the amendment passed by Parliament that suspended the move for two years.

Since the changes took effect, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henty Rotich has found himself on the receiving end with a section of lawmakers vowing to institute an impeachment motion against him.

Mbadi however has sharply disagreed with those calling for the removal of CS Rotich, insisting that the move is irrational.

“When someone talks about impeaching a Cabinet Secretary one should be able to have solid grounds to do so and as of now I am not convinced that the MPs threatening to remove Rotich have solid grounds,” he said.

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While citing article 210 of the Constitution which stipulates that no tax or licensing fee may be imposed, waived or varied except as provided by legislation, Mbadi said that Rotich’s hands were tied on the subject and that there is nothing much he can do to remedy the situation except the intervention President Kenyatta.

Speaking separately to Capital FM News, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter revealed that he has mobilised 150 lawmakers who will convene Tuesday to deliberate the way forward following the impasse on Value Added Tax on fuel.

Keter accused some individuals of taking advantage of the situation given that President Kenyatta is away in China and assured that the Tuesday’s meeting will be fruitful.

He said that he and his colleagues will also pile pressure to the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to convene a special sitting to allow members debate the matter.

The MPs are currently on a one-month recess and are expected to be back on October 2, 2018.

Keter urged CS Rotich to look for other avenues to raise revenue and not burden the taxpayer through introducing hefty taxes on basic goods.


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