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Stop the brouhaha over tax payments

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 04:00 | By
Stop the brouhaha over tax payments
Photo illustration of tax. PHOTO/Internet.

The increasing political noise over taxation is not good for the economy.

When the country’s collective psyche is held captive by accusations and rebuttals between the Opposition and the State, only two things will come out of it; confusion and suffering for the common citizen.

Coming on the back of slow economic growth, Covid-19 shocks and an election that split the country down the middle, prosecuting tax issues in political podiums and pulpits will only succeed in making a bad situation worse.

Granted, the discussions are bringing out pertinent issues about taxes and the need to pay them. However, when Kenya was expecting to jumpstart the economy, continued bickering will only frustrate or slow down growth further.

Remember, Kenya’s economy is expected to remain subdued in 2023, growing at an estimated five per cent in the best-case scenario, pulled down by a persistent rise in commodity prices, global shocks and inclement weather that has hurt agricultural production.

Unfortunately, political wrangles about tax only serve to paint the country in bad light among potential investors both locally and abroad, and this will be counterproductive, whichever side of the political divide carries the day. Investors look for tax predictability, and in the heat of the debate, much clarity about Kenya’s tax regime and its future remains clouded in doubt at best.

Yet we need investors so that jobless Kenyans can get gainful employment and come out of the financial doldrums many are currently in due to the Covid after-shocks and stagnant wages that are falling below inflation.

The law is clear about taxation, and one would expect that such issues would be best left to the taxman. Where there are disputes, other mechanisms like arbitration and courts provide avenues for resolution.

Therefore, no matter the reason politicians have decided to hype the tax issue, they need to stop and allow due process going forward.

Taxes are a key issue to jumpstart the economy and spurring investments that create growth. As such, the negative energy being pumped into the debate needs to be refocused on other important issues, such as addressing poverty and ways to feed a hungry and vulnerable population.

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