Finance Bill: President Ruto confusing Kenyans on economic goals

President William Ruto, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso (right) and Akinwumi Adesina President of ADB during the 2024 Annual Meetings of the ADB Group at KICC. 

Photo credit: PCS

The 59th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank in Nairobi recently was a success.

President William Ruto aptly demonstrated the pioneering spirit represented by the lions in our court of arms by spearheading reforms towards the global financial architecture to lead Africa towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Through Dr Ruto’s directive, Kenya has increased its shareholding in AfDB), the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), as well as the Trade and Development Bank in an effort to promote Africa’s socio-economic development.

This is a bold and intelligent move, bearing in mind that Kenya will be earning generous annual dividends from these investments (thus increasing our national revenue), and supporting other African States simultaneously.

However, while the President has demonstrated a good understanding of finance and economics by making the investments stated above, the Finance Bill 2024 that he is advocating for leaves a lot to be desired. For example, the newly proposed Motor Vehicle Tax will be an obstacle to the distribution of agricultural produce in the country. This is because most food supplies are delivered by road.

The enactment of such a levy will therefore lead to higher food prices, which is a basic need for all Kenyans. The Crude Palm Oil Tax of 25 percent, the Finished Cooking Oil Tax of 25 percent and the Eco Tax on Plastic Packaging will raise the price of cooking oil by at least Sh168 per litre, and that will be punitive.

The President as well as the Finance Cabinet Secretary should rethink the intended and unintended consequences of what they are proposing. As for now, MPs should amend the bill considering the welfare of all Kenyans.

PAYE Tax Calculator

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