By Edwin Mutai
President Uhuru on Thursday evening rejected the Finance Bill 2018 which Kenyans had keenly been waiting for.
Earlier on, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had been accused of deliberately sitting on the Bill.
The President’s rejection of the Bill now puts to rest the ongoing stalemate over the 16 per cent VAT on fuel. Minority Leader John Mbadi had on Thursday described Mr Muturi’s action as “unfortunate and dishonest”.
The Gwasi legislator said inquiries at the clerk’s office show that the Bill was concluded for forwarding to the President a week ago but it had been lying at Mr Muturi’s office since then.
The revelation had fanned fear that the government had been using delaying tactics regarding the controversial tax which has been a subject of a public uproar for the last two weeks.
There are no time-lines in law for Parliament to forward the Bill to the President once passed by MPs. The law only stipulates that the President’s assent to a Bill must be done within 14 days of receipt or return it to Parliament with a memorandum failing which it automatically becomes law.
“It is unfortunate that despite Parliament approving the Finance Bill, 2018, exactly two weeks ago today, the same has not been forwarded to the President for assent,” he said. But the president’s action now puts to rest the matter.