By Mwakwaya Raymond
The Ruto administration has come under criticisms for seeking to bolster its tax collection through multifaceted approach detrimental to the already overtaxed Kenyans.
Kilifi County senator Stewart Madzayo has expressed his disappointment over Ruto’s plan to expand tax regime by taxing every Kenyan with an identity card.
Mr Madzayo, speaking during a Senate Business Committee induction forum in Mombasa, castigated the Kenya Kwanza government for piling more taxes on overburdened wananchi with biting socioeconomic problems.
According to him the types of taxes being proposed have not been well-thought and planned to ensure they will not be unbeatable given the ongoing drought and famine in the country.
President William Ruto, recently, said every Kenyan above 18-years should be issued with the authority’s pin number to qualify them for taxation.
“Majority of our youths are languishing in abject poverty, some of whom have strings of degrees at home due to lack of job opportunities. So I’m shocked with the government move to impose taxes on these impoverished people.”
Though ready to work with the current administration to turn round the economy, the Senator, notes that that cannot be done through taxing people with no income generating activities.
Madzayo wants the government to stop chest chumping but be serious in its quest of opening up the economy especially for the Coast Region.
He says Coast Region is not about Tourism alone that the government thinks by build the dual carriage way and rehabilitating streets that head to the hotels is enough to reclaim the lost economic glory of the once a tourist destination.
‘Let the government not play with our minds but instead take matters seriously when it comes to recovery of the Coast economy. We have so many fader roads which are currently impassable, now tell me how will those farmers from all those areas ferry their produce to the market. That’s why I want the government to be serious and open up all fader roads for our people to do serious business to sustain their families” Madzayo fumed.
Currently the government is putting a dual carriage road from Mombasa to Malindi all the way to Lamu for easy flow of goods from the port of Lamu to other parts of the country.
Outlining his government’s plan on how he intends to raise revenue collection, Mr Ruto asked KRA to follow on Safaricom’s MPesa success.
Said the President: “There are only seven (7) million people with KRA pin numbers. At the same time, in the same economy, Safaricom’s MPesa has 30 million registered customers, transacting billions daily.”
His government also intends to increase the contribution towards the National Social Security Fund by six (6) percent on every salarised Kenyan as well as increasing the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
The government also wants to impose 30 percent rental income tax on landlords who are likely to pass it on to their tenants by increasing their rent.
Currently, President Ruto is said to be mounting pressure on members of Parliament to speed up some legislation that will legitimise the process.
In the first two months of the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the cummulative tax receipts stand at Sh280.2 billion compared to Sh247.8 billion in the previous year.
With Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased to Sh12 trillion and KRA only managing to raise about 14 percent of revenue last year, it will require the government to raise an extra Sh400 billion to secure the current budget.
The KKA administration expects KRA to raise Sh3 trillion by the end of the next financial year and to double the current collection in the next five years.