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Finance Bill finally lands on President's desk

By Roselyne Obala and Moses Nyamori | Published Thu, September 13th 2018 at 21:01, Updated September 13th 2018 at 21:17 GMT +3

African Parliamentarians' Network Against Corruption(APNAC) 2018 President Justice Muturi during the APNAC 2018 Inaugural Board meeting at Parliament on Friday 27/07/18. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has 14 days, starting today, to sign or reject the Finance Bill.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi delivered the Bill to the President. His spokesperson, Kanze Dena, said Mr Muturi had sent the Bill for consideration by the President. If signed into law, it will save Kenyans from the high cost of fuel. But if Uhuru rejects it, Parliament will be recalled to consider his proposed changes. It will require more than two-thirds of members to reject the President's proposals.

A source told The Standard that Muturi was likely to reconvene the House next week, meaning the President will likely send the Bill back.

The Head of State is obligated to assent to a Bill or reject it within 14 days once it is submitted to him by the House. If no action is taken by the President within that time, the Bill automatically becomes law.

Kenyans had been made to believe that the Bill was already with the President and eagerly waited for his return from China, which they expected would have triggered the suspension of the 16 per cent VAT imposed on petroleum products. The tax took effect on September 1.

Yesterday, MPs put pressure on Mr Muturi to immediately submit the Bill for signing.

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The MPs said it was immoral and a clear sabotage against the House's decision to suspend the tax through an amendment by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed.

“It is dishonest, unfair for Parliament to sit on the Bill,” said National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi.

Mr Mbadi alluded to a scheme by the House leadership to help the President buy time while the team drawn from Treasury, Parliament and the presidency came up with proposals on the way forward after MPs rejected nearly all new tax measures by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

Mbadi said the National Assembly clerk and the Attorney General had finalised the Bill a week ago.


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