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December 13, 2018

Tax increase slight, for your own good, Ruto tells Kenyans

William Ruto commissioning the Nandi county CIDP and Kapsabet municipality charter yesterday(Monday). PHOTO BY BARRY SALIL
William Ruto commissioning the Nandi county CIDP and Kapsabet municipality charter yesterday(Monday). PHOTO BY BARRY SALIL

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday defended the recent tax increase, saying it is for the good of the country.

He said the country’s domestic and external debts are within the government’s ability to service and a “crisis should not be created out of it.

The DP dismissed MPs who opposed the tax increase in Parliament last week saying they are “myopic”.

“All the county’s development programmes are being funded by either local taxes or borrowed money and it’s like that across developing nations,” Ruto said.

He said the government is neither blind nor being driven by selfish interests in the “slight increase in tax”. Ruto said the tax will help the country fulfil its needs and wants.

The DP said all governments use taxes to service debt obligations as it seeks others for developments projects.

Ruto spoke in Kapsabet Showgrounds during the launch of Nandi county’s Big Four agenda. The DP said the funds collected by the national government go to the counties. 

Read: VAT debate healthy for Kenya, says DP Ruto

“The magical development you’re witnessing in our counties across the nation are the same resources flowing from the national government,” Ruto said.

He differed with Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey who had expressed fears that the future of the country is bleak if the government does not check its borrowing.

Ruto said the government needs taxes to develop and it is aware of its borrowing limits.

“Look at the number of electricity connections, which has risen from 2.3 million in 2013 to 6.8 million households now,” the DP said.

Ruto, however, criticised some PSV operators for taking advantage of eight per cent VAT increase on fuel products to double fares.

“We have heard of butcheries increasing the cost of meat, claiming fuel prices had gone up. Be warned! We will get you because you are part of those undermining the stability of the country,” DP said.

Read: Uhuru signs into law new taxes passed by MPs

He told lawmakers in the Senate and National Assembly to work together since the country is united and that there is no opposition.

“The handshake made all leaders speak with one voice,” Ruto said.

MPs on Thursday passed the Finance Bill, 2018 in which President Uhuru Kenyatta had proposed eight per cent VAT on fuel. It was previously 16 per cent.

MPs had previously passed an amendment to Bill, suspending the 16 per cent tax for two years. But Uhuru rejected the Bill and returned it to the House.

Also read: Raila betrayed Kenyans on fuel tax, says Western leaders

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