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Yatani budget a pain to the common Mwananchi

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Last week Treasury Cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani delivered the budget statement for the 2022/2023 financial year. The 3.3 trillion shillings budget which is normally read in June was read in April due to the upcoming general elections slated for August 9th.

In his opening remarks the Treasury CS said that the government extensively consulted Kenyans when preparing for the budget which he termed as Mwananchi friendly as it aimed at accelerating economic recovery for improved livelihoods.

“In preparing this year’s budget we extensively consulted Kenyans, the insights, comments and suggestions have informed the priority read in this budget. Key among the concerns is the high cost of living, high level of unemployment among the youth, income inequality and public debt burden,” he said.

“We have outlined policies in this budget that are geared towards returning the economy back on a more sustainable growth path for improved livelihoods. in pursuit of this we have therefore chosen this year’s budget theme as accelerating economy recovery for improved livelihoods , the government will implement economic policies and undertake structural reforms geared towards improving the well fare of Kenyans,” he added

The CS  in his speech in parliament intimated that the country’s economy will grow by 6% in 2022 adding that this will be achieved by among them a  the revamped agricultural sector.

“In 2022 the country is projected to stabilize at 6 percent supported by the prevailing stable macroeconomic environment favorable weather conditions to support agricultural output and drive food processing and the continued recovery in industry and services,” he continued.

And with regards to the economic stimulus programme, the government outlined the measures it was taking to improve the livelihoods of Kenyans who underwent a tough economic time during the covid19 pandemic.

“In the third phase the government is implementing 13 strategic interventions including the third phase of Kazi mtaani programme to create employment for over 200,00 youths across the country,” he said

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“Construction of additional 50 new level 3 hospitals in non-covered and densely populated areas across the country to enhance medical coverage support the livelihoods of farmers in the sugar belt, provision of fertilizer subsidy to small scale tea farmers and ongoing interventions in the coffee sub sector,” he added.

But was this really a Mwananchi budget? details are now emerging on the much anticipated finance bill 22 which is intended to tax Kenyans even more.in the bill the national treasury now wants Kenyans to pay more for soft drinks, beauty products, flour and ice cream as it seeks to collect 50.4 billion shillings worth of tax in order to finance the budget. If the proposals are approved by parliament then Kenyans will have to brace for tougher time s ahead.

In the bill National Treasury is seeking to impose a 16% VAT On wheat, maize, and cassava flour as from 1st of January 2023.It also wants to increase by 10% the excise tax levied on bottles water, beer, spirits, and soda .chocolates have also not left behind in this new tax proposals, excise tax on them have been revised upward from 200 shillings per kg to 242.29 per kg. Ice cream will also now attract excise tax in the proposals not to forget the bodaboda sector which is currently undergoing reforms; the government is proposing mandatory third party insurance on these bodaboda’s and even Tuktuks in order to cater for passengers in cases of accidents.

“I propose to amend the insurance regulation to require motorcycle and three wheelers used by the fare paying passengers to take insurance for their passengers….the motorcycle owners do not have insurance cover to cater for any treatment in case of accidents, compensations in case of death or any damage cover,” Yatani said during the budget release for the financial year 2022/2023.

These proposals are definitely meant to hit Kenyans hard, many of whom are grappling with the high cost of living and which was made worse by the covid19 pandemic. This coming when Kenyans are also experiencing fuel crisis that has even rendered many petrol stations fuel deficient.

“The limited amount of fuel that may have been there is now drying out, Oil marketing companies have supplied to their branded outlets but they do not have enough,” said Joseph Karanja, chairman Kenya Independent Petroleum distributors Association.

the finance bill 2022 now has to be considered by the National assembly’s finance and planning committee which will later table its recommendations to parliament, the members of parliament will now have a delicate balance between helping the government which is eager to raise revenue for its 3.3 trillion budget and the common Mwananchi who is experiencing economic torture, keeping in mind that the August 9th general election is just around the corner.

BY WEMA TOYWA   #WEMA’STAKE

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