President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday stepped in to relieve the pain inflicted on Kenyans by the fast-spreading coronavirus.
Among others, the president scrapped tax for those earning up to Sh24,000 and offered a raft of tax concessions on other individuals and entities. The Pay-As-You-Earn tax was reduced to 25 per cent, corporaration tax to 35 per cent while turnover tax for micro and medium enterprises was reduced from 3 to 1 per cent. VAT was also reduced from 16 to 14 per cent while KRA was directed to pay out VAT refunds amounting to Sh10 billion.
These laudable interventions will go a long way in providing much-needed reprieve to an anxious public battered economically by Covid-19, and whose future is shrouded in uncertainty.
In fact, through Uhuru’s intervention, employees can expect to have an extra penny in their pockets to keep them going during these dark days.
The president also, through the tax breaks, has given companies a shot in the arm, which might help them sustain their operations and therefore ensure Kenyans continue to access good services they sorely need during these difficult times.
The tax reprieve, coupled with the lowering of CRB rates to 7.25 per cent which will open the door for cheaper loans, will boost the economy by giving companies a lifeline while also assuring workers of their jobs.
Besides that, Uhuru’s decision to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew is a welcome move. However, a section of Kenyans would have preferred a full lockdown that would have made Kenyans stay at home. Instead, however, the president emphasised the measures announced by the Health CS such as social distancing and hand washing. What is worrying is that these measure are blatantly being ignored by some.
For example, there is still crowding and scrambling for buses at bus stops in the city. In addition, some people who have been directed to self-quarantine have failed to do so.
The least law-abiding citizens can expect of their government now is to ensure that the rules and regulations it has laid out are respected to the letter, especially in public spaces. This it can do by deploying enough security officers to public spaces day and night.
Failure to observe these measures is putting innocent lives at risk. We should not allow this to happen anymore.