NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – Senate Minority Leader James Orengo has urged the National Assembly to reject President Uhuru Kenyatta’s memorandum detailing his reservations to a moratorium on the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products.
In his address to the nation on Friday, President Kenyatta said he had referred the amended Finance Bill 2018 back to the National Assembly and proposed reduction of the 16pc tax to 8 per cent, instead of suspending it for two more years.
Orengo however says parliamentarians should not allow themselves to be used as extension of the Executive.
“The Members of the National Assembly should not rally themselves around any particular party positions. They should rally around their constitutional calling and in doing so they cannot be seen to be doing something that is hurting members of the public. If they pass it – despite they had suspended the operations overwhelmingly – it would mean that Parliament is just an extension of the Executive.”
“What has happened over the last three or four weeks that they should be carried away by this veto?” posed the Siaya Senator.
This comes even as the ruling Jubilee Party is slated to whip its members into supporting President Kenyatta’s memorandum at a parliamentary group meeting Tuesday.
The Senate Minority Leader said the National Treasury should look into other measures to fund its budget.
“We are being pushed into a new era of tax and spending and that direction will be supporting the extravagance of the Jubilee Government. This tax is bad on everybody.”
“Parliament represents the will of the people and exercising financial prudence is key. The buck will stop with Parliament.”
The Jubilee Party and the NASA Coalition are on Tuesday expected to hold Parliamentary Group meetings to deliberate their positions on the matter.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi has been quoted stating that NASA may resort to mass action in case the 50 per cent cut in fuel VAT is adopted by the Jubilee Party-dominated House.
The Suba South MP said they are drafting an amendment to repeal the VAT on petroleum products.
President Kenyatta on Friday proposed a reduction on expenditure across all Arms of Government to fill the huge financial gap in funding the budget.
In an address to the nation, he noted that raising revenue through tax on petroleum products is one of measures the National Treasury considered in bridging the Sh35 billion gap.