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Kenyan MPs scrap plan to tax them

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by BAK, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Kenyan MPs scrap plan to tax them
    BBC News Online

    MPs only pay taxes on their basic salary of approximately $3,500
    Kenyan MPs have forced the government to withdraw a proposal to tax their generous allowances.

    The MPs unanimously agreed to vote against the finance bill if the clause was not scrapped.

    Correspondents say party divisions are often forgotten by MPs when it comes to their salaries. The 222 MPs each earn more than $15,000 (£9,800) a month.

    Kenya is already struggling to finance a 42-member coalition cabinet, formed after this years's post-poll clashes.

    In June, former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya proposed that MPs and constitutional office holders should pay taxes in a country where most people live on less than $1 a day.

    But the proposal was met with hostility by members of parliament, who said their constituents made many demands on their money.

    'Abuse of powers'

    On Tuesday, MPs held an informal meeting where they reached a unanimous decision to vote against the finance bill unless their demands were met.

    The finance bill gives the government the mandate to legally collect taxes.

    Acting Finance Minister John Michuki said the decision to withdraw the bill was in response to "intense public criticism of certain tax measures".

    The move came under immediate criticism, with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) describing it as the "height of parliamentary dictatorship".

    "This is an abuse of parliamentary powers and privileges. I wonder who will save Kenya from this parliamentary dictatorship," said James Mwamu, the LSK vice-chairman, according to was quoted as saying by the Standard newspaper

    Many Kenyans see MPs as lazy and self-interested, who often skip parliamentary sessions unless it concerns a pay rise for themselves.

    MPs only pay taxes on their basic salary of approximately $3,500 (£2,228) while their allowances amounting to more than $10,000 (£6,500) are tax free.

    In April, the finance minister said he may be forced to shift funding from vital programmes like education, health and the resettlement of those displaced in the post-election violence to pay for the new ministries.

    Ministers earn a monthly salary of nearly $18,000 (£11,770), on top of what they earn as MPs.