Higher taxes won't translate to more revenue, Kerrow warns

Ex-senator urges Finance committee to drop any tax proposals that could worsen cost of living

In Summary
  • The National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee has retreated to write its report on the tax proposals.
  • Some of the tax measures proposed have triggered public uproar with a section of leaders calling for their rejection.
Former Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow
Former Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow
Image: FILE

Renown economist Billow Kerrow has appealed to the National Assembly's Finance and Planning Committee to drop punitive tax proposals.

The former Mandera Senator told the Kuria Kimani-led committee to consider doing away with any tax proposals that could worsen the cost of living.

In a statement on his X account, Kerrow told the panel to reject revenue-raising measures that will lead to the closure of businesses.

For instance, the former lawmaker said the committee should refuse to admit proposed tax increases for food items.

"My advice to the Finance Committee as it writes its report; remove any tax that will raise the cost of living to ordinary Kenyans e.g those on bread, cooking oil, plastics, Mpesa,'' Kerrow said.

The Finance Bill 2024 has suggested implementing a 16 per cent tax on bread, which would have led to an approximate price increase of Sh10 for a 400-gram loaf.

"Remove any tax proposal that will lead to businesses closing down, job losses or relocation because of its impact on the business environment and reject proposals that will reduce our export competitiveness e.g eco levy,'' Kerrow said.

He also appealed to the committee to remove taxes that he said would undermine the East Africa Continental Free Trade Area protocols

"More or higher taxes will not translate to more revenue!" he warned.

The National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee has retreated to write its report on the tax proposals after completing public participation hearings.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Communication Director, Arnold Maliba, defended the tax rationale on bread saying that would reduce the recurrent expenditure within the national budget.

Speaking during a morning show hosted by Citizen TV, Maliba opined that the government had been spending huge sums to reimburse manufacturers through tax returns for Zero-rated commodities.

“At the moment, bread and milk are zero-rated, meaning the suppliers and manufacturers normally then claim refunds on inputs they paid (for). The two products attract the highest expense in tax, which the government would reimburse,” stated Maliba.

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