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Vihiga Finance Bill remains a mirage

13 January 2014, 14:10 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Vihiga residents are still paying revenues to the County government illegally even as the Finance Bill lies in the County Assembly waiting for the assembly to resume its sittings in February so as to approve it.

The County assembly went into recess in December after having gone through the Finance Bill on several times, with the Budget Committee that is in charge going for a retreat in Eldoret to deliberate on the bill.

Another retreat was soon organised in Kisumu for the County assembly members to go through the bill collectively before it was then tabled in the house.

But the speaker of the house, Daniel Chitwa says that the delay in approving the Bill was occasioned by the County executive committee member in charge of treasury, Evans Kaiga, who is tasked with authoring the bill.

“The bill is with the budget committee. Once they finish scrutiny, it will be brought back to the house for deliberation. Remember, this is a money bill and needs the input of County finance secretary. The delay in processing the bill was occasioned by the County finance secretary. We are also on recess,” he said.

The chairperson of the budget committee, Festus Gerule, said over the phone that he was not in a position to comment on any issue that touches on the bill as he was not the assembly’s spokesperson.

“This is not an issue that we can talk over the phone. The minister in charge of finance can explain better why the bill has not been approved as he is its author, and I’m not the County assembly’s spokesperson,” he said.

The speaker said that so far, the County executive had not requested the County assembly for a special sitting to pass the Bill, even as it carries all the procedures that the County has to follow in collecting revenue.

“There is a procedure for requesting a special sitting. The speaker has to consider a request from the two leaders - Governor and County finance secretary. I have not received any,” he said.

Kaiga declined to comment on issues to do with Bill even as we sought his audience.  

The Governor however said that he was in the process of asking the Speaker to consider a special sitting for the approval of the Finance Bill that is very integral to the County’s development.

“There have been many things happening since the start of the New Year and we have not sat down to request the Speaker, Daniel Chitwa, to have a special sitting and approve the Bill. We will however ask him to consider having one before they resume their sittings in February which is very far,” Akaranga said.  

Chitwa further said that the assembly was on course, having already approved several bills and now working towards recruiting its staff before resumption of their sittings.

“We have passed several bills but I can’t for now tell you exactly how many. We are currently in a meeting to evaluate the interviewees’ results. There are several other bills which are before committees,” he said.

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