Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has lashed out at MPs who are calling for the suspension of tax levy on fuel saying they are shedding crocodile tears.
Kuria said the MPs, some of whom sit on the budget committee, approved without question, government’s Sh3 trillion budget for the 2018/19 financial year.
He said it would, therefore, be pretentious of him to join the bandwagon and decry the effects the 16 per cent VAT will have on Kenyans.
“Kindly ask John Mbadi (Suba South MP) who sits with me in the budget committee to shut up and wipe out crocodile tears. Tell all those pretentious leaders to man up or woman up and stop treating you like fools,” Kuria said.
In a message on his Facebook page, Kuria reminded Kenyans that they “applauded” him when, together with the budget committee, they approved huge funding for infrastructural development.
He said these include Sh179 billion for roads, Sh58 billion for the SGR and more billions for Affordable Housing under the Big Four Agenda.
“I gave you money to complete your stalled markets, run universal healthcare, complete 58 irrigation dams that are underway etc,” Kuria added.
“You never faulted me. It did not bother you where I would get the money from. You even applauded me. I cannot therefore turn around and start crying with you about the VAT on fuel. I will be pretending,” he said.
Kuria’s hard hitting remarks came as a section of ODM MPs gave Treasury CS Henry Rotich a 72-hour ultimatum to revoke the directive on implementation of the VAT.
MPs Antony Oluoch (Mathare), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), and Mark Nyamitta (Uriri) on Sunday threatened to call for mass action should the CS fail to shelve the levy.
The lawmakers also threatened to sponsor a censure motion against the CS for ignoring Parliament decision that suspended the tax until September 1, 2020.
“The people of this country are burdened with tax to an extent that they cannot bear anymore. You cannot impose tax that does not have the sanction of parliament. This is pure impunity and is abuse of office,” Oluoch said during a Sunday service at Daniel Comboni Catholic Church in Mathare.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi called for alternatives to be found for the government to generate revenue.
Moi said in a statement that the overall net effect of the tax will be to condemn majority of Kenyans into poverty as they will be forced to dig deeper in their pockets.
His Nairobi counterpart Johnson Sakaja said it would be better if the tax was done away with entirely and focus placed on dealing with corruption "where the country was losing more".
On Saturday, the Energy Regulatory Commission revised fuel prices to reflect the 16 per cent VAT as directed by Rotich.
A litre of petrol in Nairobi now retails at Sh127.80; diesel at Sh115.08 while kerosene will sell at Sh97.41 per litre.
This represents an increase of Sh14.07 on super petrol, Sh12.34 on diesel and Sh12.46 on kerosene.
Consumers in Mandera will pay the highest for petrol at Sh141.61, diesel at Sh128.89 and Kerosene at Sh111.22, prices applying until September 14 at midnight.
ERC Director General Pavel Oimeke said the recalculated pump prices will be revised if the amendments to the Finance Bill 2018 will be enacted.
On Sunday, DP William Ruto shined a ray of hope by saying that the government will find a balance that will ensure Kenyans are not overburdened by high fuel prices.
“We will sit down with parliament and find a way to raise revenue to run government projects in a way that will not hurt Kenyans,” Ruto said during a prayer service in North Horr in Marsabit.
Majority leader Aden Duale said as things stand, it’s only President Kenyatta who can save Kenyans from the adverse effects of the VAT.
In an interview with NTV, Duale said the levy will automatically cease to apply to all petroleum products if the president assents to the amendments to the Finance Bill 2018.
“But the president can still disagree with parliament where he can say ‘we need to get resources to fund government programmes and policies. So until the president is presented with this law, Kenyans have no choice, they have to pay the 16 per cent,” Duale said.
The high cost of fuel will result in high transportation costs as motorists will pass the burden to commuters.
This will also translate to high food prices as farmers and traders will be looking to pass the extra costs to consumers.
Kenyans on social media have expressed discontentment with the application of the tax under #PunguzaBeiYaMafuta.