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Lower food prices first, Meru youths tell President Ruto

A faction of youths from Meru County have expressed their laxity in support of the Financial Bill 2023 saying the bill will overburden many Kenyans hard hit by the current economic meltdown.

The Bill proposes a raft of tax changes which are geared towards expanding the tax base and raising revenues to meet the government’s ambitious budget of Sh3.6 trillion for the year 2023/2024.

Led by Meru Youths Revolution CBO chairman Eric Kimathi, the youths said are all being targeted by Kenya’s taxman in a raft of new proposals aimed at filling the coffers of President William Ruto’s cash-strapped government.

Making references to the tax on fuel products, they urged that raising taxation on the products will not only harden the lives of Kenyans but also risk the demotion of those in various jobs as few employers will be willing to accommodate many employees.

“Should the employed youths end up being jobless then crime rates will be at its peak and Kenyans will no longer live in peace”, said Kimathi.

Kimathi also blamed the Government for its failure to convince Kenyans on the need to contribute on the proposed housing project citing unsatisfactory utilization of money contributed towards the National Health Insurance Funds (NHIF).

“Kenyans contribute to NHIF and NSSF, they have failed to maintain and utilize it to the satisfaction of the common Mwananchi, they should do that first”, Kimathi added.

“The government should first concentrate on lowering the cost of living so that the common mwananchi can have the purchasing power”, Kimathi added.

Nimrod Muthomi, the founder of the youth’s group, advised Members of parliament drawn from the region to give a deaf hear to ‘political threats’ issued by the president on the scheduled voting on the financial bill for the better of the people who voted them in.

“We urge Meru residents to be keen during the voting. Any elected leader in support of the financial bill isn’t worth reelection come 2027”, Muthomi added.

Meru bodaboda association vice chairperson Nicholus Kirimi lamented on the hike on fuel prices saying riders have difficulties meeting their family roles as the little they earn is used to settle debts on loaned motorcycles, a situation he says will worsen should the proposed bill be enacted.

“We call on the president to remember the vast promises he made to bodaboda riders and mama mbogas during the campaign period”, said Kirimi.

Among the taxes proposed include, 5 percent excise duty to be levied on wigs, false beards, eyebrows, eyelashes, artificial nails, and human hair, per diems for public and private servants that will be fully taxable as gains  and imported cell phones that will attract a 10 percent excise duty.

Other proposals include 35 percent PAYE cut to individuals earning Sh500, 000 or more per month and Digital Assets Tax that has been introduced among other highlights.

In the recent past, the government has struggled to meet its expenditure requirements, a move that has forced the government to seek to increase taxes to bridge its fiscal deficit.

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