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Governor suffers blow as MCAs vote against Bill

By By NDERITU GICHURE | Feb 20th 2014 | 2 min read


Nyeri, Kenya:  Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua Wednesday suffered a blow after Members of the County Assembly unanimously rejected a controversial Financial Bill.

When the Bill was tabled on the floor of the House, all the 45 members voted against it.

The MCAs recommended for adequate consultations with all stakeholders in order to come up with an all-inclusive Bill.

The Bill had sparked uproar among residents and traders, among them the churches over increased taxes, which they said were unconstitutional.

Ruringu Ward representative Edward Muteru said the county government should look for alternative sources of raising revenue, instead of overburdening taxpayers.

He said the Bill was wrongly drafted, adding that the county government should go back to the drawing board in order to come up with a document that will be acceptable to a majority of residents.

“Let us get our priorities right. We must not hurt the common man who is struggling to earn his daily bread in an honest way,” Muteru said.

He said time had come for the county government to consider the plight of people who cannot even afford basic needs.

Recently hawkers, religious leaders and the business community had taken to the street protesting the new levies contained in the Finance Bill.

According to the chairman of the Public Investment Committee Paul Ngiria, the county government has seven days to discuss and republish it before retuning it to the House.

Ngiria said the Bill did not meet the threshold of being a ‘money bill’, adding that it was not applicable in its current form.

Among the anomalies in the Bill was that it does not specify the limit to which the powers are confined in order to protect individual rights and prevent abusive exercise of arbitrary power.

He said the Bill failed to conform to Article 196 of the Constitution (on public participation), saying the public was supposed to fully participate and give their input and views.

“The Bill delved into a lot of non-fiscal substance issues which ought to be addressed in specific non-fiscal substantial legislative and should be expunged,” he said.

The committee further noted that the rates and charges by the county government should be justified by providing a comprehensive statement on the charges and other taxes.

“The Bill should be referred back to the executive so as to adhere to all constitutional provisions within seven days,” Ngiria said.

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