Catholic bishops caution that the Finance Bill 2024 will cause significant hardship for Kenyans

The Catholic bishops of the country have strongly criticized the Finance Bill 2024, urging President William Ruto’s government to refrain from passing it in its current state.

They have called on members of parliament to amend the bill, particularly in areas that are causing anxiety among citizens.

In their statement, the bishops urged the president to establish a tax system that is predictable and fosters economic growth.

“It is our firm belief that the Finance Bill 2024, if approved in its current form, will be harsh and inflict significant hardship on Kenyans. While we recognize the government’s obligation to raise taxes to fund public services, we are deeply troubled by several proposed revenue measures in the bill,” said Fr. James Waweru in the statement.

The church also expressed concern about entrenched corruption in some institutions and the squandering of public resources on non-essential activities.

“We observe that addressing corruption and curtailing wastage of available resources could generate ample revenue to support essential services, thereby alleviating the burden on Kenyans grappling with a high cost of living.”

The bishops emphasized the government’s duty to ensure citizens’ access to basic necessities through policies that promote the nation’s common good.

Following their examination of the proposed Finance Bill, the bishops warned that essential goods such as bread would be adversely affected, disproportionately impacting the poorest members of society.

Regarding the proposed 2.5% tax on motor vehicles, the Church cautioned that this would burden ordinary citizens by potentially raising public transport fares.

“While this tax could potentially enhance tax collection and improve road infrastructure, we question its public service benefit,” they added.

The bishops also objected to the proposed increase in the financial transaction levy from 15% to 20%, arguing that it could discourage digital transactions and prompt Kenyans to revert to traditional methods of saving money.

These concerns reflect the bishops’ broader apprehension about the bill’s potential impact on small traders, whom the Kenya Kwanza administration claims to champion.

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My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay