6 January 2014

Kenya: IMF Boss Set to Meet Muturi, MPs

The National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is expected to hold talks with the International Monetary Fund MD Christine Lagarde tomorrow.

Though the details of the talks are scanty, Muturi yesterday said the IMF boss who jetted in the country yesterday for a three-day visit, will later address the House committees members on the Budget and Appropriations, Finance, Planning and Trade and Public Accounts on the same day after the courtesy call.

"I am now in Nairobi to prepare for the meeting tomorrow at 10am. The parliament staff, who are currently on holiday, have been notified to report on Tuesday and assist with the necessary arrangements," Muturi said.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee chair and Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi said he is not aware of the details of the address by Lagarde.

"I got a call from the National Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich just before we went on recess last year indicating that she would be here to talk to MPs. But since the MPs were proceeding on recess, the talk of recalling the whole assembly would not have been possible. It was decided that she addresses the three committees on behalf of the members," Mutava said.

Suba MP John Mbadi, a member of the two committees on Public Accounts and Budget, confirmed that the members had been notified of the meeting via SMS.

The IMF has been instrumental in the enactment of the amended controversial VAT Act last year that has seen the price of essential consumer commodities go up. The Bretton Woods institution has also been pushing for the government to do away with the tax refunds and instead wants all to be included in the tax bracket.

The IMF argued that the measures are necessary to help the National Treasury secure the huge national budget deficit and also raise cash for recurrent and development expenditures.

According to the IMF, the changes in law were necessary and had put Kenya in line with other modern VAT regimes in the world- the mode of operation through a reduction on the number of exempt items that had overburdened the taxpayer in its implementation.

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