Over 90% of Kenyans Reject Controversial Finance Bill 2023

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A recent survey conducted by civil society groups Twaweza and Centre for Fiscal Affairs (CFA) has unveiled that more than 90% of Kenyans have expressed their strong opposition to the Finance Bill 2023, which outlines the government’s taxation plan for the upcoming financial year starting in July.

The survey, undertaken between May 19 and June 6, encompassed a total of 25,966 participants, with 20% of them residing in Nairobi.

The results demonstrate a staggering 75.1% of Kenyans strongly opposing the Bill, while an additional 17.8% expressed their lack of support for it.

With regard to specific proposals within the Bill, a significant 94% of respondents vehemently rejected the plan to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel products from 8% to 16%. In contrast, only 1.7% of participants indicated complete support for this proposal.

Furthermore, a substantial 92.4% of respondents completely opposed the proposed 3% house levy (later revised to 1.5% by the National Assembly’s Finance committee), with only 3% indicating their complete support.

Similarly, 90% of participants disagreed with the proposition to raise the excise tax on mobile money transfer services from 12% to 15%, while 2.5% expressed their complete support.

Regarding turnover tax, 81% of respondents strongly objected to the planned increase to 3%, and 47.1% voiced their disapproval of lowering the Turnover Tax band from businesses with annual revenue of Sh1 million to Sh500,000.

Interestingly, more than 38% of participants expressed support for the proposal to include small businesses, with daily revenues averaging Sh1,370, in the Turnover Tax band.

These businesses would be required to pay 3% of their revenues, irrespective of whether they generate profits, if the Bill passes.

Although not directly related to the Finance Bill, 66% of respondents also voiced their opposition to setting the standard National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) contributions at 2.7% of salary.

Their concerns stem from corruption within the fund, which has resulted in hospitals providing substandard services despite citizens’ contributions.

The survey results clearly indicate that Kenyans overwhelmingly reject the Finance Bill 2023, emphasizing their discontent with several proposed measures and their call for the government to address corruption and wastage rather than burdening the public.