Atwoli: Jubilee should spare us punitive tax measures - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 1 January 2021

Atwoli: Jubilee should spare us punitive tax measures

 

With only 2.5 per cent of salaried Kenyans earning above Sh100,000 and the majority of about 80.5 per cent earning below Sh50,000, it is insensitive of the Kenyan government to introduce punitive tax measures at a time when many workers have lost employment as a result of the pandemic and are pondering on how they will manage to take their children to school when schools open in January.

As much as we understand that the government is struggling to balance between saving the economy and surviving through the pandemic, including the health crisis, we believe that there are alternative ways the government can use to meet its obligations without being insensitive to the working poor.

The government should be reminded that the reasons for which they gave these tax incentives in April are as valid today as they were then, if not more. By reversing these measures are they saying that, as a country, we have conquered the Covid-19 pandemic?

What is it that has changed since April to convince the government that Kenyans are out of the woods and that these tax measures won’t be burdensome? What are the indicators government is using?

As the umbrella workers body in the country representing over four million workers, Cotu is totally opposed to these decisions by government and remind the government that the Kenyan workers, like the rest of the workers globally, are hurting and at pain to put food on the table.

The government should, therefore, spare us any provocation through such punitive tax measures.

The National Treasury must be creative and innovative and ably advise both Parliament and the Executive on other alternative measures it can employ in order to sustain our economy.

They must not always be in a rush to impose unreasonable taxes on a population that is hurting and bed-ridden as Covid-19 ravages the country.

Let Treasury learn how to balance between providing services to Kenyans with the same taxes and burdening Kenyans in the process of collection of these taxes. The government should not overburden its citizens, especially during these hard times.

In fact, the government must begin realising that anybody earning below Sh100,000 in this country needs to be cushioned against excessive taxes and that those earning up to Sh100,000 and they are on the verge of retirement need even to be cushioned further by not being taxed.

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