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Treasury now turns to Kenyans for ideas to increase tax revenue

A Kenya Revenue Authority official assists a police officer in filing his income tax returns at the KRA Service Centre in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

The government has asked Kenyans to submit innovative ideas on how to expand tax revenue, saying this is crucial to crucial in supporting public programmes.

The National Treasury said Kenyans are encouraged to submit tax proposals that will enhance revenue collection to facilitate the implementation of the Kenya Kwanza administration’s Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, which aims to promote economic recovery and inclusive growth. 

“The National Treasury and Economic Planning hereby invites government departments and agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and individuals to submit proposals on tax policy measures for consideration in the preparation of the Finance Bill, 2024,” said Treasury in an advertisement on Tuesday. “Kenyans are encouraged to submit tax proposals that will enhance revenue collection to facilitate the implementation of the government development agenda, the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, which is geared towards economic recovery and inclusive growth.”

Treasury has requested that submissions be specific on the tax legislations and sections to be amended, the objective to be achieved by the proposed amendment, and reinforced by a statement on the policy issue to be addressed, as well as a clear justification for the proposed change. The call for proposals by the government comes at a time when the William Ruto administration, which took over last September, has been under pressure to reduce the cost of living and create jobs. 

However, some of its proposed tax and policy measures have been questioned by various interest groups and ordinary Kenyans.

Families struggling with the high cost of living face even more difficulties due to soaring fuel prices and a crippling hike in interest rates.

President Ruto has, however, defended his decision to increase taxes, stating that it is the only way to address the challenges facing Kenyans. He earlier said his administration has made numerous commitments, and in order to fulfil them adequate resources are required.

“We made a promise to our citizens that we would advance the development of our nation,” he said. The escalating cost of living is further burdening the already financially strained Kenyans and exacerbating social tensions. 

A State think tank recently urged the government to strengthen social security measures for Kenyans who are grappling with the high cost of living.

The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) requested the government to “establish a comprehensive social protection system that complements the minimum wage, enabling workers and their families to maintain a reasonable income level through decent employment.”

“This can be achieved by providing reliable and affordable public transportation for workers, housing, universal healthcare, and universal education, which will safeguard minimum wage earners from the impact of the high cost of living,” said Kippra in the Kenya Economic Report 2023.

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