Nairobi News


Raila’s lieutenants decry tax burden on Kenyans

By Winnie Onyando September 14th, 2023 2 min read

Political allies of Opposition leader Raila Odinga have voiced their concerns over the escalating cost of living in Kenya, as the government continues to impose additional taxes on its citizens.

Key figures within Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition, led by former Defence Minister Eugene Wamalwa, have said the increased taxes are a heavy burden on the citizens.

Their concerns come in the wake of a story published by the Daily Nation under the headline: “More pain as Treasury proposes new higher taxes.”

In the Treasury’s Medium Term Revenue Strategy 2024/25 – 2026/27, some of the proposals that are expected to have a huge impact on businesses and consumers include a review of the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to bring it in line with other East African Community (EAC) states and a review of the excise duty on fuel products.

Kenya’s current VAT rate is 16 per cent, while other EAC states charge 18 per cent.

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The Treasury, in the document, proposes a review of the VAT rate, without specifying whether the review will be upward or downward, but also notes that other elements related to VAT such as VAT exemptions and zero rating will be reviewed to remove some products from the list, that a single VAT rate will be introduced for all taxable supplies and that VAT will be introduced on some educational services.

But Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u said yesterday that the government’s plan was to reduce taxes below the current level, and that the ministry had not yet decided on a rate.

Taking to social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Mr Wamalwa, expressed his sentiment by simply stating, “Cry My Beloved Country.”

Commenting on these developments, Robert Alai, the Member of County Assembly for Kileleshwa Ward, questioned the effectiveness of these government policies.

“The Gulf Oil experiment isn’t working? More taxes as fuel shortage looms,” Alai said.

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Dr Ekuru Aukot, on his part, said no nation has ever achieved development solely through increased taxes imposed on its citizens.

He urged the government to focus on industrializing economic opportunities in all 47 counties, asserting that this approach would propel Kenya’s development to new heights.

Dr Aukot also reminded the government of its promise to be a “hustlers” government, cautioning that the current policies may alienate its supporters.

In light of all this, Kenyans are eagerly awaiting the government’s response and actions to alleviate the economic strain felt by its citizens.

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