Editor's Review

"As a coalition, we are ready to go back to the streets if that is what it takes."

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has threatened the resumption of nationwide protests if the government ignores Kenyans’ concerns over the Finance Bill 2024.

Speaking on Wednesday, May 15 during the Azimio Parliamentary Group meeting Kalonzo urged Azimio MPs to vote against the proposed Finance Bill 2024 when it is tabled in the National Assembly.

The former vice president recalled the Finance Bill 2023 saying it was passed and implemented despite the majority of Kenyans raising concerns.

“You have to prepare yourselves to vote a big No, you know this Finance Bill 2024 is receiving public participation and it happened the same in the Finance Bill 2023. Over 90 percent of Kenyans said No, then they went on to implement the very unfortunate taxes,” said Kalonzo.

He added, “We went to the streets. As a coalition, we are ready to go back to the streets if that is what it takes. I hope you are bold enough if they now go and cause aggression on public participation.” 

His remarks come after President William Ruto announced he intends to raise the country's tax rate from the current 14 percent to possibly 22 percent before he leaves office.

Speaking on Tuesday during an engagement with the Harvard Business School’s Class of 2025 at State House, the Head of State mentioned that when he assumed office, he told Kenyans to tighten their belts as he was not going to preside over a bankrupt country.

“My drive is to push Kenya and possibly this year we will be at 16% from 14%. I want in my term, God willing, to leave it at between 20 and 22 %. It's going to be difficult,” said Ruto.

File image of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka

The Finance Bill 2024 seeks to introduce a motor vehicle tax based on the value of the vehicle. The tax rate will be capped at 2.5 percent of the value of the vehicle, with the minimum tax set at Sh5,000 and the maximum at Sh100,000.

The bill also introduces a withholding tax on goods supplied to public entities at 3 percent for residents and 5 percent for non-residents.

On VAT, the National Treasury has proposed a 16 percent tax on bread, which could add at least Sh10 to the price of a loaf.

The bill further proposes to remove VAT exemptions for several financial services, including credit and debit card issuance, telegraphic money transfer services and cheque processing.

In addition, the 2024 Finance Bill proposes to increase the excise duty on telephone and internet data services from 15 percent to 20 percent.