By Antony Oyugi
DEAR RAILA ODINGA
Let’s talk about this 8% VAT on fuel and fuel products
First of all Uhuru Kenyatta has played smart with the perception of Kenyans. There are those who have been misled into the thinking that Uhuru has actually done us a favor and has been gracious to REDUCE this VAT from 16% to 8%. He has not. This VAT stands at 0%. Uhuru is virtually taking us from zero to eight which is an increase.
I’ve watched snippets of a press conference at Orange House which was subsequent to the ODM and Wiper joint PG meeting. The thrust of the presser is that the leadership is urging MPs to support Uhuru’s proposals but with a caveat. You’re placing a one year duration by which time Uhuru should have implemented what you call austerity measures failure to which the Opposition will introduce a bill to altogether scrap the VAT on fuel products
Which is why I’m addressing you
My question is simple…. What if Uhuru doesn’t meet these conditions as he’s very unlikely to do?
Uhuru will for instance not do away with posts like the CASs, Regional Commissioners, etc as most of us are requesting. He may relook at parastatals but I don’t see a drastic measure on this. My submission is premised on the fact that most of these positions including parastatals board membership are political rewards. Uhuru will not touch his political children. He will need political backing when and if the economy continues going south. And he will need his old political friends and not you
By approving his proposals you’re setting yourself up not against Uhuru but against your political children….your MPs and most importantly the people. You’re supporting a slash on CDF, Equalization Fund, etc. These irritate the people and their leaders. You’re throwing the people into the den of lions. And they’re not Daniel so they’ll not survive.
One year down the line Uhuru will not have done anything on austerity. The economy will have gotten worse and I know there will be another proposal to increase the tax burden. You’ll have no fall back plan. The people will have got used to their sorry state and any calls by you to them will be zilizopendwa. Actually Uhuru will have launched something to justify that the 8% VAT on fuel has brought up a project. You’ll then be labelled an enemy of maendeleo. They’ll go back to call you the Lord of Poverty. Politically they’ll actually say that you’re a key player in the fuel and fuel products industry and don’t want to pay tax. They’ll fix you politically!
The best way would have been for you to oppose Uhuru’s proposals and give counter proposals including fighting corruption, reducing wastage and duplication of roles, restructuring especially on state agencies and parastatals, strictly adhering to devolution and taking out any institution at national government that duplicates devolved functions, advising on widening the tax base including netting the informal sector and recovery of proceeds of crime and corruption. Though we may not have the numbers as we oppose we will have stood on the right side of history for standing with the common man. This is especially so since one year down the line even if we propose to remove this VAT we’ll still lose due to numbers, and we’ll have also lost the people. Double loss and embarrassment
At the bare minimum let’s ask MPs to vote by their conscience and the collective conscience of the common man! It’s better for NASA MPs to embarrass you now by siding with the people than you embarrassing yourself twice one year down the line!