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Ruto embraces 'Zakayo' nickname

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 President William Ruto with KRA staffers after filing his returns.

President William Ruto on Friday embraced his nickname 'Zakayo' while filing returns at the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Nairobi.

Following a proposal to have a tax collectors' day at State House, the head of state said it was something he would consider since he has already been referred to as 'Zakayo' in some quarters.

"We usually have the taxpayers' day in October. My suggestion is that we also have a tax collectors' day. Probably at State House?" the staff posed.

Ruto responded by saying, "Since I have already been referred to as Zakayo in some areas, maybe we will have a tax collectors day, that's a good proposal and I will consider it."

He further urged KRA to facilitate a more efficient system for filing returns to ensure all Kenyans do so in good time.

"The Kenya Revenue Authority should facilitate the smooth and efficient payment of taxes by deploying a simple, transparent and convenient system for all Kenyans, backed by the best technology available. This efficiency will provide more resources for the pursuit of our shared development ambitions and the transformation of our nation," said the President.

The president earned the name 'Zakayo Mtoza Ushuru' following the tax proposals made by his administration.

He was likened to Zacchaeus in the Bible, who was a chief tax collector in Jericho.

Zacchaeus is known for climbing a sycamore tree to see Jesus as well as his generosity in giving half of his possession.

At the time, tax collectors were despised by the local community especially since they worked for the Roman Empire and not the Jews.

Last week, Ruto defended the move by his administration to increase taxes saying that is the only way to solve the problems facing Kenyans.

Speaking in Nyandarua County, the President said he had made promises to Kenyans and he has to transform the country.

"We promised our people that we will develop this country. Please tell these leaders to assist me by paying taxes," he said.

Ruto has also been on record saying one of the ways to resolve the country's debt crisis is by increasing revenue collection from 14 per cent to 25 per cent.

"You know our debt situation... As a country, we must move our revenue collection from 14 per cent to 25 per cent. From Sh2.1 trillion to between Sh4 and Sh5 trillion," said the president earlier this year.

The push for a wider tax base has been at the centre of President Ruto ball game since he took over as president at a time the country is faced by acute drought, high cost of living, a failing economy and rising levels of inflation.

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