Nyali Member of Parliament Mohammed Ali now wants the National Assembly to convene a special sitting to deliberate on ways to cushion Kenyans from the adverse effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Coronavirus pandemic that has claimed one life and infected at least 40 people in the country, has resulted in adverse effects on businesses, as some have been forced to halt operations and send employees home.
In a letter addressed to House Majority Leader Aden Duale, Ali said the Executive and particularly the Health Ministry can not be left to fight alone as the pandemic poses a great threat to the lives of Kenyans and the economy.
Ali called on Duale to request National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to convene a special sitting to debate on how best Kenya can handle COVID-19 crisis through legislative interventions.
“As you are aware, the COVID-I9 pandemic is causing untold suffering all over the world even among the most developed nations calling for the need to put up measures that in particular can cushion Kenyans from its negative economic effects, ” said Ali.
“Whereas we commend the Ministry of Health for what it has done so far, there is need for strategic planning should the pandemic continue to spread as it is the case in Europe and America. It is a time like now that the National Assembly needs to play its constitutional mandate by putting in place fiscal measures through legislative interventions or other mechanisms to assist vulnerable Kenyans that have been forced out of employment, are unemployed or are under-privileged and require government assistance for survival.”
The lawmaker noted that the current measures that have been put in place by the Ministry of Health including curfews, work at home directives and quarantine can only be effective if the House strategizes on how the measures can best be implemented while protecting the citizens.
Due to effects of the pandemic, Ali said, many Kenyans are unable to meet their expenses including rent payments.
“The need for protection measures to guard against eviction of Kenyans occasioned by delay in payment of rent until the pandemic is over cannot be overstated, ” he said.
Ali said there is an urgent need for the House to resume and approve budgetary allocations as well as tax cuts as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week.
The budgetary allocations, according to Ali, will help the Ministry of Health procure much-needed ventilators and other medical equipment that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
“History will judge us harshly if we just fold our hands and flow with the flow. We must stand up and be counted, ” he said.
“It is for this reason that pursuant to Standing Order 29, I request that you write to the Speaker of the National assembly and request for a special sitting of the National Assembly to consider the Covid-19 Pandemic and stand up for vulnerable Kenyans who look up to us as leaders,” he added.
Both the National Assembly and the Senate suspended their sittings on March 17 after Kenya reported its first case of COVID-19.
The houses are expected to resume to debate on the President’s directives on tax cuts.
To cushion Kenyans from unprecedented economical effects of COVID-19, the President had directed a reduction of the income tax rate from its maximum of 30 to 25 per cent.
President Kenyatta announced a 100 per cent tax relief for people earning a monthly gross pay of up to Ksh24,000.
The Head of State ordered a reduction of resident income tax (corporation tax from 30 to 25.
The President ordered the National Treasury to move to Parliament and facilitate the implementation of the directives.
The time is now. pic.twitter.com/Dc5w03aFcP
— Mohammed Ali, HSC (@MohaJichoPevu) March 30, 2020