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Raila hits out at Ruto for taxing hustlers, beauty

Raila Odinga has hit out at a move by the government to tax beauty products and social media influencers.

In his statement on May 8, 2023, the opposition leader called out President Ruto for ‘taxing hustlers’ in Kenya.

“Tax on beauty products is bad. They want to tax the beauty of our youth and women. The beauty industry is home to hustlers and KK (Kenya Kwanza) wants to go after their income” said Raila Odinga.

He said this as he announced that he will instruct all Azimio La Umoja allied Members of Parliament to oppose the proposals in the Finance Bill 2023.

“We wish to make it clear from the outset that as a party, we will try our best to ensure that this anti-people budget is not passed by the National Assembly. In the event that Kenya Kwanza uses its hired majority and passes the Bill as it is, we want the people of Kenya to understand that it is Kenya Kwanza’s Bill. It is Kenya Kwanza’s budget. It will be Kenya Kwanza strangling Kenyans. We will instruct our MPs to have nothing to do with it,” added Raila Odinga.

Nairobi News previously reported that the Kenya Kwanza government, in its Finance Bill 2023, proposed to tax a number of goods that dominate the Sh 100 billion beauty industry in Kenya.

The government proposed an Excise Duty tax on human hair and other products of heading 6703 to be taxed at 5%, wigs, false beards, eyebrows and eyelashes, switches and the like, and other products of heading 6704 at 5% and artificial nails of tariff no. 3926.90.90 to be taxed 5%.

In June 2022, it was estimated that the beauty industry in Kenya was worth Sh 100 billion. The Business Daily reported that it was an industry projected to be growing at a rate of 400% per year and many foreign investors have established their presence in the Kenyan market including Fenty and L’Oreal.

Conversations about taxing cosmetics and wigs began with Nyaribari Chache Member of Parliament who suggested that cosmetics and other beauty should be taxed to encourage women to embrace their natural beauty. He also said that taxing these products would enable the government to be able to provide free menstruation products to females, saying that this was the only way the government could fund such a program.

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