Azimio releases a statement on Finance Bill 2023.
Azimio releases a statement on Finance Bill 2023; In a statement by Kileleshwa MCA, Robert Alai, Azimio stated;
Last week, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition raised concerns about the Finance Bill, 2023 which was published on Friday, 28th April and tabled in Parliament on 4th May 2023.
We said the Bill prepared by the Kenya Kwanza Regime is a punishment that Kenyans cannot and should not entertain.
The Bill proposes amendments to various tax statutes including the Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Tax Procedures Act and the Miscellaneous Fees & Levies Act, among other laws. We raised concern that a number of proposed tax measures will have significant negative impact on taxpayers.
•Introduction of 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products;
•Revision of the rate of tax applicable to the permanent establishment (PE) of a foreign entity and introduction of a tax on repatriated income of the PE;
•Requirement to deposit security of 20 per cent of disputed tax before appealing against a judgement to the High Court;
•Agency taxes such as withholding tax, excise duty of gaming and betting and withholding VAT to be remitted to the Commissioner real-time, in 24hrs or 3 days;
Introduction of withholding tax on payments made in respect of digital content monetization;
•Turnover tax bands and rates are proposed to be revised;
•Introduction of digital asset tax upon digital asset transfer or exchange value;
•Increase of the marginal tax rate applicable to employees from 30 per cent to 35 per cent;
•Introduction of 3 per cent employee and employer contributions to the National Housing Development Fund.
At the time of our statement last week, we took some comfort in the fact that the Bill was being subjected to public participation and there was a possibility that the reservations of Kenyans would be taken into consideration.
Since then, the Kenya Kwanza hubris has kicked in. The top leadership of the Kenya Kwanza regime in Parliament and the Executive have pronounced themselves on this matter.
They have said the Finance Bill will pass as it is. They have said not even a coma shall be removed.
On Sunday, Hon. William Ruto said the three percent housing levy to be deducted from basic salaries is mandatory patriotism. National Treasury Secretary Njuguna Ndungu has said Kenya Kwanza is hiking taxes to catch up with neighbours. Kenya Kwanza’s leadership in parliament has also declared that they will have their way because a government never loses.
It is clear the so-called public participation being invited is a mere charade and a gimmick to give Kenyans false hope before they are hit with the Tsunami of taxes beginning July. As Ruto was speaking on Sunday, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority had just raised the retail fuel prices by Ks3.4 for super petrol, Ksh6.4 for diesel and Ksh15.19 for kerosene. The Kenya shilling itself also continued with its free fall against other major currencies
The rise in the price of fuel and the continuing fall of the shilling means the cost of everything goes up, again.
Kenyans will recall that earlier on, we had warned that despite all State propaganda, trying to ease the supply shortage of maize and lower its costs through duty free imports would not work and prices would not come down.
To ensure the subsidy is passed on to consumers, the government would have to agree with traders on a formula on various margins and costs. Such negotiations have failed as was expected. Further, if importation is to lower the market price of maize, the volume of imported maize would have to be massive. Reports indicate that not many importers took the offer. The net effect is that the price of unga has not come down. Instead, they are set to rise, again.
Because Kenya Kwanza essentially sees Kenyans as its beast of burden, even this darkening scenario has not been able persuade the regime to seek middle ground on the Finance Bill.
Consequently, we state as follows:
1.We continue to demand a major surgery to the Finance Bill in the interest of the suffering people of Kenya.
2.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. Kenya Kwanza must figure out and address the problem.
3.The cash flow problem in the country is due in part to the weakening of the Kenyan currency. The weakness is not just vis-à-vis the US dollar. Our currency fell significantly against the Tanzanian shilling – by nearly 10 per cent since last September. This suggests that domestic factors are causing part of the decline of the Kenyan shilling. Kenya Kwanza must get to the bottom of this problem and stabilize the shilling.
4.Kenya Kwanza must strengthen and not undermine critical institutions such as those tasked with fighting corruption, collecting revenue and investigating and prosecuting crimes as it is presently doing.
5.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.
6.Kenya Kwanza must rationalize public expenditure. It must live within its means, instead of spending money it does not have on programs and projects the country does not need.
7.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.
8.We appeal to all Kenyans to participate actively in the process of validation and express themselves loudly and clearly that they cannot take any more burden. We equally encourage our people to lobby our elected leaders to stand with the people on this matter.
9. 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 mobilise citizens around the country to fight for themselves. We will have no option but to mobilise all the social sectors and take all the necessary political actions to stop this blow and burden.