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My Drive Is To Push Kenyans, Ruto Announces Plans To Keep Taxing Kenyans More In His Term

President William Ruto has defended the government plan to introduce additional taxes on Kenyans

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President William Ruto has announced his intention to continue raising taxes despite cries from Kenyans who feel they’re already overtaxed.

While defending his economic plan, Ruto unveiled ambitious plans to elevate Kenya’s tax revenue to a whopping 22 per cent from the current 14 per cent.

The President made the remarks during an engagement forum with the Harvard Business School students at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday May 14, 2024.

Speaking during the event, President Ruto acknowledged that taxes are painful but necessary to help government reduce borrowing.

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“Its going to be difficult, I have a lot to explaining to do, people will complain but I know finally they will appreciate that the money we go to borrow from the World Bank is savings from other countries,” said Ruto.

The president outlined a phased approach to achieve the desired increase, aiming for a rise to 16 per cent in the current year, with a long-term target of reaching between 20 and 22 per cent.

“My drive is to push Kenya, possibly this year we will be at 16 per cent from 14 per cent. I want in my term, God willing, to leave it at between 20 and 22 per cent. It’s going to be difficult,” he added.

Ruto pointed out that Kenya’s tax revenue as a percentage of total earnings trails behind that of peer nations on the continent.

“Our peers in the continent are on an average of between 22 and 25 per cent, which means our taxes are way below those of our peers,” he explained.

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Ruto remained confident that the move is essential for Kenya’s economic resilience.

“I know finally they will appreciate that the money we go to borrow from the World Bank is savings from other countries,” Ruto affirmed noting the importance of reducing dependence on external financing.

Ruto’s remarks came barely a week after the introduction of the proposed Finance Bill 2024.

The Finance Bill, 2024 was published on May 9 and is set to be subjected to public participation thereafter.

The Bill contains tax proposals that the Kenya Kwanza government wants to use to raise revenue and finance its ambitious projects.

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Top on the list is the increase in the price of bread, and a mandatory tax for all motor vehicle owners in the country as the government funds the 2024-2025 budget.

He added, “And I’m not comparing ourselves with OECD countries. Countries like France are at 45% others are higher. So I persuaded and made a case to the people of Kenya that we must begin to enhance our revenue because if we are a serious State we must be able to enhance our taxes.”

The President also explained that the push to raise more revenue through taxes was part of ensuring that ‘we live within our means’.

“When I came into office I told everybody to tighten up your belts. I am not going to preside over a bankrupt country. I’m not going to preside over a country in debt distress. We have to cut our spending,” he stated.

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His remarks came a few days after the controller of the budget raised concerns about wasteful spending including excessive domestic and international travels by government officials.

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Meanwhile, the closure of businesses and job losses in the private sector have been attributed to increased taxation in the country.


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