Rotich hits rich hard to help poor families

Henry Rotich
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In a classical fashion of robbing the rich to feed the poor, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich has introduced a Robin Hood Tax to help low-income earners at the expense of the wealthy.

The minister seeks, through his budget, to slap a tax of 0.05 per cent on cash transfers exceeding half a million shillings.

Cash collected from the levy will go towards funding universal healthcare where the State will provide medical cover for the elderly and the poor, along with financing other vital social safety nets.

“I propose to introduce a Robin Hood Tax of 0.05 per cent on any amounts of Sh500,000 or more transferred through banks and other financial institutions,” said Mr Rotich.

He noted that the tax was being introduced since “Our economy has a well-established financial sector in the region with significant sums of money transferred monthly.”

Robin Hood tax, which traces its origins to a British character by the same name, aims to generate cash to fight extreme poverty and promote better socioeconomic fortunes in the society. Robin Hood is said to have been a thief who stole from the wealthy to help the poor.

The fund is conventionally expected to help people struggling with loss of their jobs, homes, and medical bills.

Vienna-based World Poverty Clock says 11 million Kenyans are living below the $1.90 (Sh190) per day extreme poverty threshold and accounting for 23 per cent of the national population.

Analysts say Kenya’s poor performance in poverty reduction despite impressive gross domestic product growth points to poor wealth distribution among the population.

That is in part due to the country’s small manufacturing base and high rate of joblessness that denies households a steady stream of income.