•Interfaith Council of Kenya Embu chapter’s chairman Samuel Nginyi, Kenya National Chambers of Kenya Embu Branch Chairman Mugo Mate and an economist John Mukundi said the move was ill-advised.
•During the Covid-19 time, a taxpayer earning Sh50,000 had been paying a monthly pay-as-you-earn tax of Sh2,687 but under the new tax regime, they will be paying Sh4,367.
An Embu clergy, traders and an economist have condemned Parliament for reversing Covid-19 tax reliefs in an attempt to save the struggling economy.
Interfaith Council of Kenya Embu chapter chairman Samuel Nginyi, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Embu branch chairman Mugo Mate and economist John Mukundi said the move was ill-advised.
Nginyi, who is also in charge of the Redeemed Gospel Church Mt Kenya South, said he was shocked to see the government increasing the tax it had relaxed owing to the pandemic.
He said the move by Parliament, which President Uhuru Kenya has already assented to, will make Kenyans speculate things that they should not, asking the government to come out clearly on the issue.
He urged the government to recover money stolen in the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency scandal among other scandals and use it to finance its operations rather than increase tax.
Economist John Mukundi who is the managing director Achievers College of Professional Studies in Embu said the move by Parliament was untimely as the pandemic is not yet over, noting that Kenyans are already overtaxed and that the problem the country faces can be attributed to overspending by the government.
He said instead of increasing taxes, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani should regulate the spending of the government to avoid wastage so that there can be adequate money for services and recovery of the economy.
Mukundi said the move will negatively affect small and medium enterprises for being overtaxed and thus they will hike the cost of their products and services and the cost of living and unemployment will grow.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Embu branch chairman Mugo Mate said the move by the government is wrong as businesspeople will not be able to pay the taxes as they are still suffering under the pandemic.
He said corruption has greatly affected the country while the government has not been able to contain it. Despite the increase in taxes most of the money which will be collected will not end up improving the economy but in the pockets of a few people.
He called on the government to take decisive measures to curb corruption, noting that due to corruption even the money that the government had raised from donors and kept aside in the fight against covid-19 was stolen.
Last December, MPs reversed all the reliefs that the government had announced to cushion people from the effects of Covid-19 after passing into law the Tax Law Amendment Bill, 2020,
During the Covid-19 time, a taxpayer earning Sh50,000 had been paying a monthly pay-as-you-earn tax of Sh2,687 but under the new tax regime, they will be paying Sh4,367.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris