Kenyans will have final say on Finance Bill 2024, says Nyoro

Parliamentary Budget Committee chairman Ndindi Nyoro. [David Njaaga, Standard]

A section of Kenya Kwanza leaders have accused the opposition of misleading Kenyans about the Finance Bill, 2024.

The Parliamentary Budget Committee chairman Ndindi Nyoro said Azimio leaders are not sincere and have been telling lies about the Bill.

Nyoro announced that Kenyans will determine whether the Bill proposed by the Treasury would be adopted or rejected.

Speaking during a funds drive in aid of women groups in Teso South constituency, Busia county, on Saturday, the Kiharu MP assured that the Kenya Kwanza administration will consult Kenyans widely on the Bill before moving to the final stage.

“We have agreed as leaders that we are the servants of the people of Kenya and we know there is a Finance Bill proposal by the National Treasury, but the Constitution is also very clear that we listen to all Kenyans on matters public finance,” he said.

“I want to assure Kenyans that because we are a government of responsibility, we are ready to listen to their views on matters Finance Bill and what Kenyans will want is what we will do because this country does not belong to us the leaders but it belongs to all Kenyans,” he added.

Nyoro said contrary to claims by the opposition that the Bill would impoverish Kenyans, the Kenya Kwanza administration was sensitive to Kenyans’ concerns about the Bill and it was the reason why the government engaged in public participation.

“The money that will be raised through the various tax avenues will be spent on uplifting Kenyans’ standards of living,” he said.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruyiot accused Azimio leaders of opposing the Finance Bill 2024 saying that they are defending the rich people who have been exempted from paying taxes at the expense of the majority of Kenyans who cannot afford to buy basic commodities.

One of the proposals that Azimio's leadership has opposed in the Bill is the introduction of a motor vehicle tax at a rate of 2.5 per cent of the vehicle’s value and the minimum tax payable to the commissioner on each vehicle at the time of issuance of insurance cover will be Sh5,000 with a maximum amount of Sh100,000.

ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya who spoke at a funeral in Malava constituency, Kakamega county, asked opposition lawmakers to shoot down the Bill and warned that they will return to the streets if Parliament passes the proposed law.

"They call it the Finance Bill 2024 but for us, we are calling it mkate 2024 Finance Bill, we are not against Kenyans paying taxes because it is what runs the affairs of the country and development but the government needs to assess the impact of the taxes they are raising on its people," said Oparanya.

"There is no way we are going to allow the government to go to the extent of over-taxing bread which is a basic item to many households and we want our legislators to use any means to resist the proposed Finance Bill and as Azimio we are also going to reject the Bill to cushion Kenyans who are already overburden," he added.

Kakamega Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda and Butere MP Tindi Mwale vowed to oppose the Bill.

"There is no way we shall allow this government to continue harassing and over-taxing Kenyans and yet we are leaders and we were elected by the people who are being subjected to multiple levies and as we go back to Parliament, we are going to mobilise other lawmakers who mean well to the people to oppose this punitive B," said Muhanda.

President William Ruto has defended the government’s plan to impose additional taxes on Kenyans.

The President said that it was the only way to get the country out of debt.  “I am not going to preside over a bankrupt country, I am not going to preside over a country that is in debt distress. We have to cut our spending,” he said.

Ruto said he intends to raise the country’s average tax rate from 14 to 16 per cent by the end of 2024 and aims for between 20 and 22 per cent by the end of his term in office.

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