Azimio Claims Ruto Plot To Tax Every Kenyan Over Ksh27,000

Azimio alleged that the government was set to increase the taxation of every adult Kenyan by two times to an excess of Ksh27,000.

Azimio Claims Ruto Plot To Tax Every Kenyan Over Ksh27,000
Raila Odinga speaking to the press flanked by top Azimio leaders at SKM Centre on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA

Azimio la Umoja on Thursday, February 22 poked holes at the government's Budget Policy Statement 2024 published by the National Treasury, warning of harsher tax measures to be imposed on Kenyans.

According to the Treasury, the policy measures were drafted to improve economy-wide efficiencies, create an enabling environment that supports growth in businesses and reduce the cost of living. 

However, Azimio, through Wiper Party Leader, Kalonzo Musyoka, while addressing the media, termed the BPS statement as flawed and unachievable, arguing that the Kenya Kwanza government’s economic proposals, policies, and strategies would increase the tax burden drastically.

Standing firm on their claims, Azimio alleged that the government was set to increase the taxation of every adult Kenyan by two times to an excess of Ksh27,000.

Wiper Party Leader, Kalonzo Musyoka (centre) addressing the media on July 22, 2023. /AZIMIO TV

"If the BPS is anything to go by, Kenyans must be ready to tighten their belts because the Kenya Kwanza regime is coming after them in a second wave of taxes," Azimio warned.

"To the ordinary Kenyans, the Mama Mboga, Boda-Boda riders, and the people of Mjengo, the regime is coming again with a double taxation plan with increased taxes of approximately Ksh27,000 per adult Kenyan," Azimio stated, adding that the taxes were spread across different sectors.

Among the sectors targeted by the new tax measures include education whereby parents were warned to brace for an increase in school fees as the BPS proposed Value Added Tax (VAT) on educational services, especially extra-curricular activities.

"Some services like swimming when offered out of school are vatable. To remove this discrimination, there is a need to impose VAT on the additional benefits. In this respect, the government will explore the introduction of VAT on services provided by schools but not directly related to education," Treasury stated. last year.

Azimio also indicated that the Kenyan economy will thrive if the government cuts taxes, moderates its expenditure, reduces wastage, and adopts a rights, and zero-Based Budgeting approach.

"We also believe that the country will do better when we devolve more funds to the counties in line with the Constitutional provisions. The Budget Policy Statement suggests otherwise. Kenya Kwanza regime is determined to kill devolution.

"We believe that our country will function better when we strengthen the Middle Class. A cursory look at the Budget Policy Statement, 2024 indicates that will kill the middle class and when the middle class is dead, they will hurt millions of our people," added the coalition, accusing the BPS of diminishing social protection for Kenyans and frustrating the creation of an enabling environment for manufacturing to attract more investors to the country and create more jobs.

Azimio also admonished the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023 which was introduced to Parliament after the courts had on two occasions declared the Housing Levy which is meant to finance the Affordable Housing Program unfair, discriminatory, and unconstitutional.

Raila's political faction urged Kenyans to put on notice the Members of Parliament who betrayed their wishes by voting for the Bill that sailed through the Third Reading on Wednesday, February 21. Ironically, some of Azimio MPs who opposed the bill in public skipped a crucial Parliament session on Tuesday where 141 lawmakers cast their ballot in favour of the bill against 58.

On Wednesday, a section of Azimio MPs staged dramatic showdowns by walking out of the House after the Bill made it to the Third Reading. 

"We will prosecute the matter in public court because we have to tell Kenyans those against them and those for them. What is contained in that bill will make Kenyans' lives miserable and this is not what the Kenya Kwanza government promised," Suna East MP Junet Mohamed told the media after walking out of the House.

As the Affordable Housing Levy Bill, 2023 moves to the Senate for concurrence, Azimio asked the Senators from across the political divide to be patriotic and reject the Bill in totality. 

Regarding the exchange rate of the Kenyan shilling against the United States (US) dollar, Azimio claimed that artificial manipulation led to the stabilisation of the local currency against the dollar, citing the move as unsustainable by Kenya Kwanza.

According to the Raila team, in August 2022, the shilling was trading at 120 for one US dollar. One and a half years later, the shilling is trading at 150 against the greenback.

President William Ruto addressing government officials during the second government retreat on February 21, 2024. /PCS

"The fall and instability of the shilling come with a great price that includes escalated costs of imports including food. It puts tremendous pressure on parents seeking to take their children abroad or those who want to seek treatment outside the country.

"The free fall of the shilling is, therefore, a grand betrayal of the people of Kenya by the Kenya Kwanza regime. A perfect example of a race to the bottom by the regime" slammed Azimio.

Calling out Kenya Kwanza's reckless borrowing, Azimio claimed that Kenya Kwanza increased spending by over Ksh400 billion; the state house and state lodges renovations approximated to cost Kenyans over Ksh780 million and the renovation of the official residence by the deputy president projected to cost over Ksh600 million.

According to the coalition, Kenya Kwanza is spending money it does not have in misplaced priorities and raising it by extorting more taxes from the suffering Kenyans and resorting to more borrowing, ignoring the warnings that the country is in debt distress and at the risk of debt default.

"Without blinking an eye, the regime went against its promise to reduce borrowing and did the complete opposite today KK regime has borrowed close to Ksh2 Trillion in just one and half years. If this is not a race to the bottom, then we don’t know what it is. Only the government can now afford to borrow at the astronomical rate of 22 per cent or more, from the domestic market.

"The result has been that micro and small businesses are struggling, defaulting and folding up while the larger private sector is at best, stagnating or equally folding up. In the last one year, the proportion of micro and small businesses defaulting on loans has increased by 20 per cent. Today, 6 out of ten micro and small businesses are either paying late, paying only a part of their instalments or are unable to pay," added Azimio.