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‘Azimio MPs will support Finance Bill’

South Mugirango lawmaker Silvanus Osoro says 50 Azimio lawmakers have promised to support the Finance Bill 2023.

According to the National Assembly whip, the said opposition allied lawmakers have agreed to vote in favor of the controversial bill following ‘intensive lobbying by the government side’ over developments expected to accrue after passing it.

“As we speak, 50 Azimio la Umoja MPs have pledged to vote for the passage of the bill,” Mr Osoro claimed.

The bill has been handed to the national assembly speaker, Mr Moses Wetangula after completion of some proposal amendments on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

The amendment review was led by the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, chaired by Molo MP, Kimani Kuria.

They include reduction of housing levy to be remitted by every employee, from the proposed 3 percent to 1.5, and lowering the taxation of digital contents from 15 per cent to 5 among others.

Most Kenyans, supported by the opposition, workers’ unions and human rights activists have rejected the bill, lamenting adoption of the document will cause an upsurge of the already soaring cost of living.

The bill also proposes increasing VAT on petroleum products from the current 8 percent to 16.

Nevertheless, Mr Osoro says 16 percent VAT on petroleum products is reintroduction of the already existing tax.

“The 16 percent VAT on fuel was introduced by the previous regime, led by the retired President, Uhuru Kenyatta.

“But because of Covid-19 disease pandemic, the then head of state gave a reprieve by temporarily scrapping the 8 per cent tax on petroleum products. We are lifting it, since the effects are now minimal,” the MP said, while defending the bill.

Azimio la Umoja, led by Mr Raila Odinga has vowed to whip his lawmakers to reject the bill by all means. ​

Mr Odinga has further threatened to mobilise his supporters for demonstrations in the event the bill is passed.

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