90 percent of Kenyans reject Finance Bill 2023


Members of Public Service Sector Unions participate in a procession along Nairobi streets on May 29, 2023, protesting against the proposed punitive taxes by the Government. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

More than 90 percent of Kenyans have rejected the Finance Bill, 2023, which has the government’s taxation plan for the financial year starting in July, a new survey has shown.

The survey by civil society groups, Twaweza and Centre for Fiscal Affairs (CFA), shows that at least 75.1 percent of Kenyans strongly don’t support the Bill, while 17.8 don’t support it.

Only 1.9 percent of 25,966 Kenyans who took the survey indicated that they strongly support the Bill, whose controversial proposals have elicited widespread criticism.

The survey was undertaken between May 19 and June 6, with 20 percent of the respondents being Nairobians.

The results show that Kenyans are strongly against most of the controversial proposals contained in the Bill and feel that the government should eliminate the corruption that is bleeding billions of taxpayer money, as well as stop wastage instead of raiding citizens’ pockets.

“The Finance Bill, 2023 wants to raise revenue through tax, but Kenyans are being crushed by the high cost of living, stagnant and limited income,” it stated.

On specific proposals in the Bill, 94 percent of respondents indicated they completely do not support a plan to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel products from 8 percent to 16 percent, as 2.2 percent said they slightly do not support the proposal.

This was the proposal rejected by most Kenyans, among the respondents. Only 1.7 percent of the respondents indicated that they completely support the proposal.

At least 92.4 percent of the respondents completely do not support the proposed 3 percent house levy (which was revised downwards to 1.5 percent by the National Assembly’s Finance committee), with only 3 percent of respondents indicating complete support.

Also, 90 percent of the respondents completely do not support a proposal to raise the excise tax on mobile money transfer services from 12 per cent to 15 per cent, but 2.5 per cent said they completely support it.

Eighty-one per cent of the respondents completely don’t support the planned raise of turnover tax to 3 percent, while 47.1 percent also said they completely don’t support a proposal to lower the Turnover Tax band from businesses with annual revenue of Sh1 million to Sh500,000, the survey stated.

But interestingly, more than 38 percent of the respondents indicated support for the proposal to bring in small businesses (with daily revenues averaging Sh1,370) into the Turnover Tax band, where they will pay 3 per cent of revenues irrespective of whether they make profits, should the Bill pass.

While not in the Finance Bill, 66 percent of the respondents also said they don’t support a plan to set a standard National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) contributions at 2.7 percent of salary, on grounds of corruption at the fund that has seen hospitals continue to offer poor services despite citizens’ contributions to the Fund.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.