Aden Duale writes to Speaker Justin Muturi questioning delayed Petroleum Bill

Garissa Township MP has asked the Speaker to recall the house or prioritise the Bill when house proceedings resume. [File, Standard]

Former Majority Leader, Aden Duale, has written to the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi challenging the delayed consideration of Petroleum Products (Taxes and Levies) (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The Bill was sponsored by, Finance and National Planning Committee chairperson, Gladys Wanga, and seeks to reduce fuel prices in the country.

In a letter dated January 13, the Garissa Township lawmaker has suggested two ways the speaker could use to make sure the Bill is passed.

He wants the speaker to recall the house (currently on recess) on January 20 for members of the house to consider and pass the bill or prioritise the bill when the house proceedings resume on January 25.

“Mr Speaker, I make this request cognizant of the disquiet among the oil marketers because of the delays by the National Treasury to pay them their statutory subsidy, which is likely to cause another abrupt increase in fuel prices,” a snippet of Duale’s letter read.

According to Duale, despite affecting a number of Kenyans’ businesses, upon publication the Bill was only read a First Time on November 10, 2021, and no further progress has been made since then.

“The Bill, being the priority and urgent business has never been scheduled for consideration which is unfortunate as we owe Kenyans a constitutional duty to represent and resolve any issues,” he added.

In November last year, parliament published a petroleum products tax amendment bill and set in motion efforts to lower fuel prices.

"The objective of this Bill is to review taxes and levies on petroleum with a view of making the products cheaper. The global prices have been on the rise in the recent months hence to bring the price of fuel down, there is a need to reduce the taxes and levies applicable to petroleum products," the bill says.

The bill proposed to reorganize the Petroleum Development Fund and specify under what circumstances the fund can be used by establishing the Petroleum Development Fund Advisory Board.

The law guiding the Petroleum Development Levy demands that it support a subsidy when fuel prices shoot up and infrastructure upgrades in the energy and petroleum sectors.

A committee constituted in parliament to probe the fuel hike said Treasury abused the Petroleum Development Fund by supporting payments such as for Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in breach of the law.

The Bill, sponsored by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, imposes a fine of Sh50,000 or imprisonment for one year or both on any person who fails to comply with provisions of the development levy order.