Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has told off the Opposition for fighting the proposed Finance Bill, 2023, saying that it will pass in Parliament even without their support.
Speaking at St Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Kitui County on Saturday, June 3 during a funds drive, the deputy president noted that the Opposition lacked the requisite numbers to shoot down the Bill currently before Parliament.
“I want to tell you even if you oppose the Bill, it will still sail through because you have no numbers, so why waste your energy,” said Gachagua, while responding to Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu who openly opposed the Bill.
Gachagua cautioned political leaders against inciting Kenyans to reject the Finance Bill, saying that the government has no other means to finance its programmes other than collecting taxes from Kenyans.
He termed it doublespeak from leaders who were calling on the government to deliver development projects to Kenyans while at the same time inciting them against their (government’s) agenda.
“On one side you want to tell people not to pay taxes but then again you want us to initiate development projects; that is double-speak. If we have to deliver on our agenda, then we must collect taxes. Where else do you want us to get the money from?” the DP posed.
The proposed Finance Bill, 2023 seeks to amend various laws relating to taxes and duties with the overall intention of increasing government revenues from taxes collected.
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Gachagua said that leaders who are opposed to the Bill are doing so to please their electorate instead of facing reality.
“Truth be told, if we do not collect taxes, there will be no development, it is that simple,” he remarked.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, also present at the event urged Kenyans to unite and support the government’s agenda, saying that was the only way to grow the country’s economy.
“The government has no other source of funds, therefore the citizens must support it even on this issue of revenue collection,” the CS said, sentiments that had earlier been shared by his Tourism counterpart, Penina Malonza, and Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai.
Earlier, MP Makali in opposing the Bill said that no country in the world had ever developed by taxing its people beyond their capacity.
Makali called for amendments to the Bill to cushion Kenyans who were already battling the high cost of living, especially on clauses that seek to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the controversial housing levy. He said the opposition was willing to sit at a round table with the proponents of the Bill to review the contentious clauses.
The MP further urged the Kenya Kwanza government to be sincere in the bipartisan talks, noting that should they fail, the opposition will resort to rallying its supporters to mass protests.