Finance Bill will punish middle class – Raila
The Finance Bill 2023 is going to punish the middle-class earners if passed without amendments, the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has said.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Raila acknowledged that the country is ready for tax reforms, but the Finance Bill did not capture the changes needed.
“Yes, the country is ripe for tax reforms, but the Finance Bill 2023 is not one of them. The Finance Bill 2023 is severely punishing the middle-class people who are already suffering. It doesn’t spur economic growth at all,” Raila said.
Raila on tax bracket
Raila called on the government to expand the tax bracket instead of levying more taxes on Kenyans who are already paying taxes.
"Instead of merely levying more taxes on Kenyans, Kenya Kwanza must address the economy’s many structural shortcomings. For instance, there is a reason why the Kenya Revenue Authority is unable to meet its revenue targets," he said.
"Kenya Kwanza must incorporate all productive citizens into its nation-building projects. Currently, the regime has alienated a huge section of the population who see themselves as outsiders and strangers in their own country."
According to Raila, the government must rationalize public expenditure. He says that the administration must live within its means, instead of spending money it does not have on programs and projects the country does not need.
"Kenya Kwanza must address the public concern that even as taxes rise on everything and for everyone, there is no clear plan to spend new tax revenues on welfare programs for the poor. Instead, those taxes will only stoke inflation and hurt the purchasing power of poor families," Raila added.
The opposition leader has threatened to mobilise Kenyans to oppose the changes in case the Bill is passed in Parliament without changes.
"Finally, we make it clear that if this Bill is railroaded through Parliament, Kenya Kwanza must prepare that we will have no option but to mobilize citizens around the country to fight for themselves. We will have no option but to mobilize all the social sectors and take all the necessary political actions to stop this blow and burden," Raila said.
Raila has also urged Kenyans to voice their concerns in the Finance Bill 2023 before it is passed.