A big Budget yes, but spare us the taxes

Once again, the National Treasury has cobbled up an ambitious Budget that might see taxpayers taxed to the bone. It has proposed to spend Sh2.7 trillion between June and July 2020, Sh200 billion more than what it expects to spend in the current financial year. To this end, Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich’s ministry will overhaul Income Tax, a move that might see companies and employees pay more in taxes.

With most workers still smarting from myriad taxes they were slapped with in the current financial calendar, the last thing they would like to hear is another deduction on their take home.

A tough economy has seen a lot of workers push back against Government’s proposal to deduct 1.5 per cent from employee’s gross salaries - a contribution that would be matched by employers toward the National Housing and Development Fund. Besides the housing levy, President Kenyatta’s administration also introduced VAT on petroleum products.

Other taxes included excise duty on airtime, internet, and financial transactions. That is why Kenyans are wary of new taxes. There is a government to run: roads to build, drugs to buy, teachers to pay and seeds to be delivered to farmers. But all these can be delivered without adding to the already heavy tax load.

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We still insist that wastage of public resources and corruption are our worst enemies. As such, more money can be consolidated by simply being more prudent and punishing the corrupt heavily. Even before bringing on jua kali artisans and mama mbogas with the new presumptive tax, the government should aggressively go after the tax-evasive fat cats.

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