Kenyans on Twitter joined Azimio leader Raila Odinga and public sector unions to oppose Finance Bill 2023 which proposes to raise taxes. Mr Odinga said the levies will be “a piece of punishment” and “a tsunami” that will sweep all.
But economist David Ndii taunted those opposed to the proposals insisting even wastage in government helps boost the economy. Dr Ndii, who chairs President Ruto’s Council of Economic Advisors, slammed opposition to the bill arguing that through the government’s profligacy, employment is created.
“Many pontificating here about cutting government spending seem oblivious that government spending, useful and wasteful, is a third of the economy. Cut that drastically and many of them will be jobless e.g stop wasteful seminars, several hotels, travel biz, bars will close,” he tweeted.
But Kenyans countered this justification, decrying an attempt to overtax them. Nashon Okowa, a project manager, argued that some of the taxes introduced, or increased, were purely meant to help the government survive tough economic conditions and were not necessarily crafted to support Kenyans, having been presented in a deceptive manner.
“Kenyans have issues with lies in the Finance Bill. If you want money to cushion against external shocks, just plainly say so. Don’t conceal it in fictitious, unfeasible initiatives like housing funds. Tell Kenyans the truth, it shall set you free,” he wrote.
But Dr Ndii insisted that the measures many consider insensitive and punitive are the way to go, indicating a lack of feasible alternatives for the government.
“People with issues with the Finance Bill (should) sit down, write an alternative budget that cushions external shocks without the IMF, and brings down the deficit with no tax measures. And do the numbers. As Sam Rayburn said ‘Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one’,” he tweeted.
Citing the examples of Ghana and Sri Lanka, the latter of which slid into anarchy on the back of extreme economic woes, Ndii stated: “Been telling you for years that financial delinquency has no solutions, only consequences.”
Kenya Kwanza is blaming the tough economic situation on the previous regime for heavy borrowing.
Public service workers have rejected the proposed Finance Bill 2023, claiming it will gobble up more than half of their salaries.