Drop Finance Bill and apologise to Kenyans, Raila tells Ruto
Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has asked President William Ruto to drop his push for the Finance Bill 2023.
The opposition leader said the bill has caused unnecessary anxiety among Kenyans and that the President must drop it and apologise to Kenyans.
“We call on Ruto to humble himself, withdraw this bill, apologise and seek forgiveness from Kenyans for the anxiety it has caused and start afresh,” Mr Odinga said.
The Opposition leader also said the country is going through tough times and imposing more taxes on Kenyans would overburden them.
Mr Odinga said since the Kenya Kwanza government took over last year, the country’s debt has risen from Sh8.71 trillion to Sh9.3 trillion.
“Our debt increased by Sh689 billion in six months under Ruto. External debt, which stood at Sh4.33 trillion in September 2022, rose to Sh4.851 trillion in March this year. Domestic debt rose from Sh4.36 trillion in September 2022 to Sh4.53 trillion,” Mr Odinga said.
He said even during the Covid 19 period, the total debt was still lower than what the current government has borrowed in six months.
“Kenya Kwanza has borrowed more than any other regime. It has removed subsidies, it has increased taxes, but the cash crunch continues. They cannot pay salaries, they cannot distribute money to schools, they cannot distribute money to counties, they cannot distribute money to the elderly, and they cannot finance the National Hospital Insurance Fund, and all government projects have stalled, where is the money going?”
The Azimio leader further said Ruto’s government may be spending money on the wrong priorities.
In his 10-point solution to the ongoing debate on rising cost of living, the Opposition leader has asked the President to lower his expectations and reason with Kenyans.
“We need to tell Ruto that when people have to park their cars at home because of the cost of fuel, it is bad for the economy. We must tell him that when people choose to stay at home because they want to spend less on expensive goods, it is bad for the economy.”
Among the solutions the opposition has recommended for the president is to stop duplication of duties and responsibilities, adopting zero-based budgeting, stop increasing the size of the budget, plugging the loopholes that lead to loss of revenue as well as reducing government expenditure including the appointment of CASs.
He has also called on President Ruto to reduce the size of the government, cut unnecessary local and international travel, freeze out-of-station allowances for ministers, and stop corruption and theft of public funds.