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Church advices President Ruto to trash the ‘burdening’ Finance Act 2023

Religious leaders from the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims have called on President William Ruto to repeal the Finance Act 2023.

Their main call is for the Kenya Kwanza administration to review the “heavy taxation burden it imposes on Kenyans.”

“We urge you to reverse Kenya’s downward spiral into the abyss by adopting policies and strategies that give Kenyans hope while addressing the economic challenge in both short and long terms. The suffering individual Kenyans are facing is pushing them into hopelessness that can early inspire insurrection. Your Excellency, do not allow this country to go down this path,” said the religious leaders in a statement.

They noted that should President Ruto maintain the prevailing taxes, it will give Kenyans an opportunity to recover their livelihoods and inspire hope for the future.

They also called on Ruto to pave the way for dialogue to address the country’s longstanding and deep-seated grievances to promote healing and reconciliation.

“In the meantime, Your Excellency, it is of utmost importance that you instruct the Cabinet Secretaries and other government officials to promote rule of law and cease use of provocative language. The prevailing sense of impunity needs to be curtailed,” concluded the religious leaders.

Also read: What the Church has advised Raila ahead of maandamano promax

The divisive and imposing Finance Act 2023 was passed on June 2023 despite opposition from a section of Kenyans and the opposition coalition. The Act imposed new taxes on Kenyans, including the housing levy, and increased other taxes, such as that on fuel, by 100%, which had a ripple effect on the cost of food, public transportation, and electricity.

However, Busia Senator Okiya Omtata filed a case in court seeking to stop the implementation of the Act. He successfully managed to convince the court to temporarily halt the implementation of the Act pending the determination of the case.

Calls are now being made for the High Court to nullify the Finance Act 2023, which comes at a time Kenyans are struggling with the runaway high cost of living and unemployment.

On the other hand, President Ruto is not pleased about the Act being challenged in court and called on the judges to hurry up and remove the obstacles preventing the implementation of the Act.

“I want the court to finalise the Finance Bill case. They should not block the Bill. We want to proceed with the development of our county,” declared President Ruto.

He said this a day after the High Court declined to lift the suspension order on the Act after Treasury Cabinet Secretary Professor Njuguna Ndung’u applied for it.

Also read: United Nations voices concern over police brutality during maandamano