Inside Politics

Karua: Reject Nadco report for not addressing cost of living

Friday, December 8th, 2023 05:20 | By
Karua: Reject Nadco report for not addressing cost of living
Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua (centre) addresses the press in Nairobi, yesterday PHOTO/PHILLIP KAMAKYA

Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua yesterday urged Kenyans to reject the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report on grounds that it failed to address the most pressing issue of cost of living.

She claimed the report has served Kenyans with a contempt card as it fell short of addressing the issue of the cost of living, which was the top agenda when Azimio called off the protests to give room for the Bomas of Kenya talks.

“The NADCO report has nothing to alleviate the suffering of citizens but offers goodies to the leaders. It is a fraud, which Kenyans should frown upon and reject. It is a distracting national smokescreen. The findings of the report confirm that the committee was formed by the unwilling, composed of the incompetent to do the unnecessary,” she said in a press briefing after hosting an end-of-year meeting with her party members.

Karua said it is insensitive for Kenya Kwanza government to consistently hike the cost of living without being mindful of the majority of citizens who are wallowing in the middle of biting poverty and misery.

Overwhelming majority

Karua said the Finance Act 2023 enacted after public participation indicated that an overwhelming majority of Kenyans were opposed to it, particularly to the doubling of the fuel tax whose ripple effect is a pernicious rise in the cost of living.

“The numerous punitive taxes that leave many Kenyans with negative pay slips, and negative balances for businesses forced many to close and or relocate their business to friendly environments including neighbouring countries,” Karua said terming the housing levy a ‘slush fund’ meant to benefit a privileged tenderpreneuring aristocracy.

The rising cost of electricity and fuel, she said has increased the cost of production pushing the cost of essential goods out of reach of many Kenyans as more employees continue to lose jobs as their employers strife to remain in business.

The Azimio co-principal accused President William Ruto of failing to implement austerity measures to curb the wastage of public resources and not deterring corruption in his government.

“When Ruto calls for austerity measures, it excludes him and his cronies. Corruption and outright theft of public funds are at an unprecedented level. The edible oils scandal where public funds to the tune of Sh15 billion was lost under the guise of bringing in cheaper cooking oil, only to end up with oil unfit for human consumption and which has now disappeared from the warehouse,” she added.

Subsidised fertiliser

Last week Azimio leader Raila Odinga said the coalition would go back to the people after it emerged that their proposals to lower the cost of living during the Bomas hearings were dismissed as the government team maintained that they had better options in their manifesto which they were implementing which included the supply of subsidized fertilizer to farmers.

Raila who said that the Nadco report was ultimately, imperfect and unfinished pointed out that the Azimio team in Bomas talks realised that the whole issue of cost of living is ‘extremely sensitive’ in Kenya Kwanza circles because it is a gravy train on which many corrupt interests have converged.

“We will seek other ways to press the government to listen to the cries of the people and bring down the cost of living. The other ways will include but will not be limited to consultations with the people. At all times, we will retain the right to call on the people to take steps that we deem necessary to force the government to lower the cost of living,” Raila  remarked.

Odinga revealed that the opposition had deploying economists to recommend to the government measures to bring the cost of living down but Kenya Kwanza administration rejected them.  He further claimed that Azimio’s proposal to amend the 2023 Finance Bill which only worsened the tax burden on Kenyans was shot down by President William Ruto’s team in Bomas.

“We asked the government to reduce travel budgets by 50 per cent. We also called on the government to reduce the Daily Subsistence Allowances for State and Public Officers by 30 per cent. We further asked the government to reduce the road maintenance levy and the anti-adulteration levy by Sh5 and Sh3 per litre respectively,” Odinga said.

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