National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale is of the view that taxes must be paid for the country to develop.
The Garissa Town MP said this concerning Finance Bill, 2018, which President Uhuru Kenyatta returned to Parliament on Thursday evening for a review.
In an address to the nation from State House in Nairobi County on Friday, the president said that in a memorandum, he has proposed that the tax rate be halved.
Mr Duale said he had no doubt that the president would give valid reasons for returning the Bill.
“Part of the memorandum is returning to the House,” he told the Nation in an interview, adding this is a good move.
Mr Duale asked the players in the industry to reduce the prices should the Bill be signed into law.
“I hope the other stakeholders and the transporters in this trade will reciprocate once the House ceases of the matter on Tuesday and Thursday next week. Hopefully, the President will sign into law the new amended VAT of eight per cent,” he said.
But he added: “It is very painful because at the same time we have to pay taxes for the development and transformation of our country.”
Minority Leader John Mbadi is of the view that the VAT on petroleum products is ill-advised.
Mr Mbadi, who is Suba South MP, added that the proposal for an eight per cent rate is “just to please the public” and is disastrous to the economy.
“This is not about numbers. It will still have a ripple effect on fares. We can see that fares have already gone up by 50 or 100 per cent in some of our towns despite the increase of the levy to 16 per cent. This doesn’t make economic sense. By putting the VAT at eight per cent, the president means that he wants it charged.”
Mr Mbadi proposed that the VAT be put off for another two years or be done away with completely
Two Coast legislators want the government to stop mega development projects to ease the economic burden on Kenyans.
Speaking during the National Assembly Media Engagement retreat with senior editors under the Kenya Editors Guild, at Serena Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa County, Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime asked Mr Kenyatta to halt projects such as the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Narok.
“The common man is really suffering. The economy is hitting them hard so I would advise that we set aside some of the developments until we are stable as a country,” MP Mwadime said.
Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi also asked that the government to prioritise its projects.
“We need to ensure Kenyans get basic needs such as food, shelter and affordable health care which seem to be distant with the current economy.”
He said the SGR is not an emergency and that “we should not be in a rush to develop at the expense of our people”.
“We may incur debts that may, in the long run, harm us.”
Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako lauded the president for not signing the Bill, saying Kenyans will appreciate a lower tax rate.
“Petroleum products affect every Kenyan and the president is awake to this fact. At least he has considered a reduction.” Mr Mwashako said.
Laisamis lawmaker Arbelle Marselino told the Nation that an increase in fuel prices will affect many other aspects.
“A reduction is good for the country. It is an executive order so we have to go by that,” he said, adding the other option is to push the tax to 2022, when he said Kenyans will have made economic adjustments.