The Anglican Church of Kenya, led by Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit has voiced its opposition to the proposals contained in the Finance Bill 2023, which was presented before parliament last week.
The church is calling for a comprehensive public participation process before the bill is passed, arguing that Kenyans are already overburdened with taxes, and that the government should explore alternative ways of financing its budget.
“We demand that the proposed Finance Bill 2023 is subjected to thorough public scrutiny through meaningful public participation before it is presented to Parliament,” Ole Sapit said.
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“The bottom line is that the majority of the population can ill-afford tax increases which seem to feature glaringly in the said bill.”
The clergy criticized the Kenya Kwanza government, accusing the Present William Ruto-led administration of having misplaced priorities when it comes to addressing the high cost of living in the country.
“While acknowledging that the high cost of fuel and high inflation in the country have been caused by a myriad of factors including global trends, we are concerned that the government has by the default snowballed revenue collection,” the Archbishop noted.
“It beats logic that even with the evident financial constraints, the government has not communicated the way forward to the budget deficit, delayed salaries and payments is an indication of skewed priorities.”
The Anglican Church’s statements come at a time of controversy surrounding the Finance Bill 2023.
The proposed legislation includes contentious measures such as amending the Employment Act to allow for a 3% deduction from employees’ basic pay to fund President Ruto’s low-cost housing initiative.
Additionally, the bill proposes a 15% withholding tax on payments related to the monetization of digital content and the introduction of a tax on human hair, eyelashes, switches, and artificial nails in a bid to increase revenue from the cosmetics industry.