Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi has expressed concern over what he termed as a high cost of living in the country.
To alleviate current economic hardships, Mudavadi – a former Finance Minister, is calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend the Finance Act 2021 that came into effect on 1st July arguing that its implementation will burden Kenyans more especially at this time of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government ought to look at ways of cushioning Kenyans against the devastating impact of covid-19 on their livelihoods, not burdening them with taxes that further condemn them into abject poverty,” argued Mudavadi
Speaking during his tour of Nakuru County on Saturday, the ANC leader who has since declared his 2022 presidential candidature noted that while the government needs to raise money to fund its development projects and meet the recurrent expenditure, it should not do so at the expense of the masses.
“Raising tax on gas will have disabling impact on the family kitchen and environment. This will make the life Kenyans worse than it is already,” he said during his two-day tour of the county where he was hosted by Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
At the same time Mudavadi says in order to fulfil the 2021/2022 budget deficit of close to Sh1.6 trillion, the government must renegotiate both local and foreign loans, as well as reschedule the debts while injecting the accrued monies into SMEs to help jumpstart the ailing economy.
“Hunger is real in many parts of our County. Many families cannot afford a daily meal. People have no money in their pockets; the Covid pandemic has impoverished many people who lost jobs or closed their small and medium businesses,” he said.
He also lamented failure by the Treasury to disburse monies meant for counties to pay pending bills. He said this is affecting the economy in counties and sending many traders into depression and eventually affecting the livelihoods of many families.
“I know that we are broke as a country and we are borrowing to pay salaries. But Government is killing the Goose that would lay the Golden Egg. Pending bills has killed local entrepreneurs, wealth and employment creation in counties. The Treasury should prioritize the disbursement to counties. It should release all funds due to counties by July 30th so that counties can settle pending bills and spur economic activity in counties,” Mudavadi said.
On BBI, the ANC leader said if the referendum will not be possible, some of the issues in the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020 can be implemented through the parliamentary initiative.
“The process of the parliamentary initiative should be anchored in trust and inclusivity,” he said.
Governor Kinyanjui called for the respect of the election timelines as outlined in the constitution and if there will be a compelling need to alter the polls date, Kenyans should be well explained to.
“If we don’t get to a referendum, some of the issues addressed in the BBI draft Bill can be met through the parliamentary initiate as minimum changes. Not all issues in the BBI Bill are unacceptable,” said the governor.
During his tour of the county, Mudavadi held consultative meetings with elders from different communities living in the county, business leaders and youth groups who all offered their support for his presidential bid.