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Raila, son disagree on fuel tax decision

Seth Onyango @SethManex

Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s son, Raila Odinga Junior, has criticised ODM’s decision to endorse President Uhuru Kenyatta’s eight per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products. It came hours after his father led ODM MPs legislators in supporting the proposed fuel tax.

In a thinly veiled attack on his father’s actions, Raila Junior who has become increasingly outspoken on national matters, termed the opposition party’s move as “unconvincing”.

“Unfortunately, as a Kenyan citizen, I am unconvinced by the statement put out by Nasa on the VAT on Fuel, none of the conditions they have put up are measurable and even if they were they are nowhere near closing the deficit on the debt. I call on my MP @okothkenneth (Kenneth Okoth) to reject,” he tweeted.

Many Kenyans on social media also took issue with the Opposition for what they saw as blind support of government agenda after the reconciliatory  handshake between Uhuru and Raila in March.

In a parliamentary group meeting chaired by Raila on Tuesday, the MPs resolved to back Uhuru’s memorandum on the Finance Bill in which he is proposing the reduction of initial VAT on petroleum products from 16 per cent to eight per cent. In the bill, the MPs had suspended the levy on fuel for two years.

ODM MPs, however, said they will support the taxation as long as it lasts for only one year.

Chief Whip Junet Mohammed said Uhuru’s move to cut the to tax eight per cent was in line with their stand that petroleum products should not be taxed.

“Nasa believes that if these proposals are implemented, there will be no need for extension of VAT beyond one year. However, if nothing is done on these proposals, Nasa will move a motion in the next budget to scrap VAT on fuel,” he said.

Mohammed also called on the government to scrap unnecessary parastatals and merge those with complementing functions to cut expenditure.

“All public expenditure must be economical and be sensitive about harsh financial times. We don’t want to hear of people travelling first class on public funds,” he said.

Meanwhile, Raila yesterday held talk s with youth leaders from Jubilee, ODM ad Kanu as he pledged to work with them to foster cohesion in the country.

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