President Ruto slammed oppositon leader Odinga for criticizing the government’s tax policies during his speech at Field Marshal Mukami Kimathi’s burial.
He boasted of his administration’s ability to turn around the ailing economy, emphasizing its focus on subsidizing production and not consumption, unlike his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Head of State dismissed Odinga’s claims of increased taxes, citing over 20 tax sections being slashed, reducing Ksh. 500 billion, and blaming the current economic crisis on the previous administration, which he says Odinga was a part of, and urged him to wait for him to improve the situation.
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“You (Raila) have spoken about the cost of living; lakini nikichaguliwa, si unga ilikuwa Ksh 230? Saa hii ata imepata nafuu na unga sasa inafika Ksh. 170. The mistake you did is mlienda kupatia pesa millers. Huyo miller anatoa wapi unga yake? Si unga iko na wakulima? I have gone to farmers…it is how to reduce the cost of living,” President Ruto said.
“You don’t reduce the cost of living by working with millers on subsidy programs; you subsidise production, you don’t subsidise consumption. That is where the country went wrong. I agree with you on the cost of living but you are the one who destroyed it, wacha mimi nirekebishe.
“If you look at the budget, I have reduced over 20 sections of taxes, almost Ksh. 500 billion of debts in the current budget, in order to reduce the burden on Kenyans. Pale kwa historia unaweza kunishinda, lakini hapo kwa uchumi, hapana…mimi naelewa kabisa.”
The President also stated that he belonged to the school of thought of the late former president Mwai Kibaki, during whose era the economy was thriving. He claimed that his administration had already reduced taxes and was focused on increasing revenue collection to Ksh. 2.8 trillion by the end of this year.
The President further dismissed Odinga’s criticism, stating that he was merely politicking and should instead focus on working with the government to improve the economy.
“I am a very close student of Mwai Kibaki. When he took over the presidency, the budget was about Ksh. 220 billion…lakini kwa mpango na akili, akaisukuma baada ya miaka kumi hadi trillion moja. Uhuru akaisukuma mpaka Ksh. 2 trillion lakini akaongeza madeni mingi. I want to push the economy to about Ksh. 2.8 trillion this year,” he said.
“What Kibaki did is that he knew the country you cannot develop a country by accumulating more debts, you develop it by increasing the tax bracket. So allow me time because I know what to do.”