We have options to high taxes for economic growth

Taxation concept. [Getty Images]

To call our situation dire doesn’t begin to describe the circumstances that our great nation finds itself in.

Fortunately, not only are we hardworking but our societal values and virtues want to see our offspring grow beyond measure and our planned dreams for them.

Are the proposed raft of tax increases justifiable? I will let you be the judge.

There is a glut and oversupply of gifted talent chasing ever-diminishing opportunities. For example, our banks are employing graduates to do clerical jobs as tellers.

As if this is not enough, your average graduate’s remuneration cannot sustain a mortgage. Watchmen speak impeccable English - they have at least Form 4 certificates. The incomes of graduates and clerks are well below global parity.

This an indictment on those charged with the responsibility of generating opportunities creatively. They are sleeping while on duty.

We need a surge. For me it’s financing more education, particularly in entrepreneurship at the tertiary level backed with seed capital. This calls for education reform.

And we must manufacture. A compounded year-on-year growth rate of five per cent is a service-oriented economy. Manufacturing guarantees 15 per cent compounded rate. We have no option.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange 20 Share index only has two manufacturing companies - BAT and East Africa Breweries. The rest are Safaricom and banks. We are indeed a service economy.

I will hence skew my contribution toward financing education. We have all invested heavily, rightfully so, in education. Unfortunately, it has not been enough.

So invested are we in this promise that we are even prepared to sell family heirlooms and do fundraisings to ensure that subsequent generations achieve goals beyond measure.

Education has no shortage of inspiring quotes, but perhaps the most relevant one in the present circumstances is Malcolm X’s suggestion that “education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.”

So the question begs, should we buy into the idea of upward revision in taxes as a percentage of GDP? Something must give.

Kigen Tireito is a businessman and entrepreneur

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