Gideon Moi urges MPs to consider public views, amend Finance Bill 2024

Gideon Moi urges MPs to consider public views, amend Finance Bill 2024

KANU National Chairman Gideon Moi during a past address. PHOTO | COURTESY

KANU National Chairman Gideon Moi has chimed in on the contentious debate surrounding the proposed Finance Bill, 2024, expressing that Parliament should consider public sentiments in the deliberations before passing the legislation in its current form.

The proposed Bill has sparked widespread discontent among Kenyans, who fear its adverse effects on their livelihoods amidst already challenging economic conditions.

Moi, while noting that the Bill contains punitive tax proposals, highlighted the urgent need for lawmakers to amend it in light of concerns raised by economic experts and the general Kenyan populace.

"The National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee must ensure that its final report reflects the opinions, concerns, and aspirations of Kenyans on the Bill. It contains punitive tax proposals on individuals, households, and businesses, amidst tough economic times. If not carefully revised, it is likely to condemn more Kenyans into poverty," he said in a statement on X on Tuesday.

"Economic experts and the general public have highlighted the pain points in the Bill, cautioning that, if enacted in its current form, it will disproportionately diminish Kenyans’ purchasing power by raiding their disposable incomes, affecting livelihoods, and driving businesses out of the economy."

Stressing the importance of incorporating the viewpoints of Kenyans into the final version of the Bill, Moi called out the Finance committee for "the superficial public participation exercises it subjected Kenyans to in the 2023/2024 financial year."

According to the former Baringo Senator, the Parliamentary committee largely disregarded public sentiments when it forwarded the tax-laden Finance Act, 2023, to President William Ruto for assenting.

"This is an opportunity for the committee to redeem itself from the superficial public participation exercises it subjected Kenyans to in the 2023/2024 financial year, where public input was largely disregarded in the final report presented to the National Assembly," said Moi.

He further underscored the necessity of a sustainable taxation framework in Kenya that fosters economic growth and expands the tax base, rather than imposing burdensome levies that stifle productivity and diminish revenues.

"The government’s approach to aggressively exacting tax beyond the point of elasticity during an economic downturn will inevitably reduce the tax revenue. Ultimately, the Finance Bill will be self-defeatist as evidenced in the National Treasury's report in May that KRA fell short of its projected tax revenue collections," he said.

Moi also criticized provisions within the Finance Bill, 2024, that seek to impose excise duty and VAT on essential financial services, arguing that such measures contradict efforts to promote financial inclusion and combat poverty.

He also raised concerns about the proposed motor vehicle circulation tax, warning of its potential to deter investment in the insurance sector and discourage comprehensive insurance coverage.

"It must also not be lost on the government that starvation and malnutrition still afflict many people, especially children. Increasing taxes on basic household food items like bread will inevitably compound these problems," he said.

"At this point, Kenyans' hope solely lies on the National Assembly to amend the Bill to alleviate the burden of over-taxation. Moving forward, the government must shift its focus from taxation to industrialization through manufacturing to achieve sustainable, private-sector-led economic growth."


Citizen Digital Gideon Moi Finance Bill 2024

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