Africa

Raila Odinga calls for boycott of new taxes in Kenya

PHOTO: KREUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The fuel tax will double as part of the measures, which were signed into law earlier this week

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Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has called on his supporters to boycott a new finance bill that doubles the fuel tax and introduces a new housing levy. President William Ruto signed the bill into law on Monday, according to RT News.   

Odinga has urged his followers to stage acts of civil disobedience against the government, which he accuses of exacerbating a rise in the cost of living.  

“Let us deny Ruto the fuel tax by limiting consumption of petrol and diesel. One way to do this is to carpool. Let us arrange to make regular journeys in a single vehicle whenever possible. Give each other a ride… Walk instead of driving whenever possible,” he told thousands of supporters at a rally in the capital Nairobi on Tuesday. 

The Finance Bill 2023 was approved by the Kenyan parliament last week. Among other things, it increases the tax on fuel from 8% to 16% and imposes a levy on company payrolls to finance a new housing program. The Kenyan government says the tax hike is necessary to stabilize public finances and pay off debt.  

Some of the population, however, told RT that they are against the move and fear it will harm a significant number of people, as well as “bring down” the economy.  

Earlier this month, residents took to the streets in Nairobi to protest the controversial bill.  

Meanwhile, independent analyst Ken Bosire told RT that Kenya should stop relying on foreign aid and strive to be more self-sufficient. The country can manage food imports through small enterprises and this will increase the tax base so that the government receives money, he argued.

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