Darkness around tax breaks unacceptable

In Summary

• Mama Ngina has denied that the Kenyatta family has benefited from any special tax exemptions

• A senator wants the Estate Duty Act amended to remove the exemption allegedly enjoyed by Kenyatta and Moi

There is a furore over tax breaks in the economy but no-one knows exactly what tax breaks have been issued and where.

For instance, it is alleged that the families of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi have enjoyed tax breaks on various transactions. This has been hotly denied by Mama Ngina.

Reportedly, the Treasury is about to release a list of all tax exemptions since the 'handshake'. The Treasury should extend this back, even as far as Independence. The KRA must have a list of all such exemptions.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei is moving an amendment to the Estate Duty Act to replace the exemption allegedly enjoyed by Kenyatta and Moi with one for the 'disabled, disadvantaged and marginalised'.

But this will also end up being abused as everyone will claim that they qualify and should get tax exemptions. It would be more cost-effective to make conditional cash transfers to these groups.

Finally, we should not eliminate all tax exemptions. They still have a useful role to play. Tax exemptions can promote exports and capital investment while helping charities. But the present darkness and lack of clarity surrounding tax exemptions is unacceptable.

Quote of the day: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Charles Dickens
The English novelist was born on February 7, 1812

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