‘Finance Bill takes us back to the 1980s’ – Azimio MPs

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 17:56 | By
National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi.
National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi. PHOTO/Courtesy

Members of Parliament allied to the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition have opposed the Finance Bill 2023, saying it has "only bad news, worse news and the worst news" for Kenyans.

Addressing members of the press after a Parliamentary Group Meeting chaired by Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday, May 30, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi said the opposition rejects the Bill that seeks to introduce more taxes on Kenyans in totality.

"It is the position of the PG that the millions of Kenyans struggling with the high cost of unga, sugar, fuel, school fees, and electricity, among others; businesses struggling with shortage of supplies and high taxes, Kenyans struggling with high medical expenses, parents, civil servants struggling with diminishing pay and increased tax deductions, do not believe this Bill is from a government working for them," Wandayi said.

"They do not believe anyone living in this country can come up with the raft of taxes contained in the Finance Bill 2023."

While opposing the proposed 3 per cent housing levy, The MPs said they oppose the burden being imposed on working people 'through reckless measures like house levy, income tax and taxes on per diem".

"We oppose increased taxes on start-ups and small businesses. We oppose increased taxes on fuel which will raise the cost of the product by at least Ksh10," the MPs said.

According to the legislators, budget proposals in the Finance Bill 2023 offer completely no support for working people and upcoming businesses.

"For the taxes being levied, people are getting nothing in return," they added.

Azimio further accused the government of arrogance in the push to introduce new taxes.

"Our PG has also taken an extremely dim view of the arrogance with which the Kenya Kwanza administration wants to take billions out of the pockets of some of the poorest people in this country while expecting them to cheer. Kenya Kwanza position on the Finance Bill is take or leave it," the MPs said.

They claim the Bill seeks to take the country back to the 1980s.

"It takes us back to the era of cost-sharing in public institutions. It takes us back to the era of Structural Adjustment Programs. It takes us back to the 1980s because the people who were in charge back then, are in charge today," the legislators said adding that they reject excess taxation to finance wasteful expenditure.

"We have refused to sit back and watch as Kenyans are being harassed to fix cash crunch caused by economic mismanagement, wasteful spending, corruption and skewed and incompetent hiring into critical public positions," the MPs stated.

"We reject this backward march. We reject the Finance Bill in total. We reject excess taxation to finance wasteful expenditure."

Wandayi said the coalition has suspended the bipartisan talks with Kenya Kwanza until they withdraw the "punitive" Finance Bill 2023.

"We suspend the joint bipartisan talks until Kenya Kwanza withdraws the punitive Finance Bill 2023. We, therefore, oppose the burden being imposed on working people," Wandanyi stated.

President William Ruto has in recent weeks defended the housing levy saying Kenyans stand to benefit from affordable housing. He also insists that the Housing Fund will create employment opportunities for jobless youths.

The proposed law seeks to compel employers and their employees to contribute 3% of their wages to the housing scheme.

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