Taxes: Showdown or Ruto walkover?

Ruto has called upon MPs from both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio to support the Finance Bill 2023 report, which would provide him with sufficient funds through taxation to finance his development agenda.

On the other hand, Raila, through ODM Secretary General and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, has urged MPs to oppose the bill and vote against it.

The President has expressed his determination to broaden the tax base through the bill's ratification, aiming to revive the struggling economy without resorting to additional borrowing.

"If we aspire for Kenya to emulate the vibrant economies of the Asian tigers, we must be willing to make difficult but necessary decisions. Taxation is the only way to foster Kenya's development," said Ruto.

Shoot it down

Azimio leader Raila has announced that all members of parliament affiliated with the party are expected to be present in the house on Tuesday to vote against the Finance Bill 2023.

Abstaining or voting against the bill will be regarded as an act of rebellion against the party.

Azimio has voiced opposition to Ruto's push for the passage of the Finance Bill, which proposes various measures, including the introduction of a mandatory 1.5 per cent housing tax deduction from salaried individuals.

Raila openly opposes the proposed increase in the Finance Bill, which also seeks to raise the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products from 8 per cent to 16 per cent.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga. [File, Standard]

Sifuna highlighted the suffering of the Kenyan people while the country's leadership luxuriates in opulence, with increased budgetary allocations to the offices of the President and other high-ranking government officials, despite claims of a cash-strapped nation.

He expressed the widespread belief among Kenyans that the actions of the government are unjust. He highlighted the increased foreign travel for the President, the acquisition of new vehicle fleets by senior government officials, and the purchase of expensive houses by senior officials, all while the government claims to be financially constrained.

During a fundraising event at St Paul's ACK Church Waruku in Westlands on Sunday, Sifuna said within nine months of assuming office, Ruto has implemented measures that have made life difficult for ordinary citizens, with the intention of further impoverishing them.

Sifuna emphasized that his party's stance aligns with the sentiments of ordinary Kenyans. He urged the government to stop deceiving the public by claiming these measures are in the best interest of the country, as the people are already experiencing hardships and should not be subjected to further suffering.