Opinion: William Ruto’s Punitive Taxes Must Fall

4 mins read

In the 1700s, Tea was a very popular commodity. In England, for example, each woman and child consumed almost 300 cups of tea every year.

By the 1760s, America was consuming over a million pounds of tea every year, and when the British (America’s colonizers at that time) wanted to increase taxes on tea in the country, Americans were not happy because they had no say in tax decisions made in London.

This is history the Ruto regime must be alive to as it imposes punitive taxes on Kenyans. They must recall the famous phrase ”No Taxation Without Representation.”

The American colonists believed they were not subject to taxes imposed by the Legislature in Westminster. Rather than paying the taxes, they simply dodged the tax collectors at the Boston Port by smuggling in alternative tea, usually from Holland.

However, just like UDA today on Kenyans, the British believed Parliament had the authority to tax the colonists, especially after Britain went deep into debt following the seven-year Anglo-French War.

To close the budget gap, London looked to Americans, and in 1767, imposed new taxes on a variety of imports. A failed strategy William Ruto is using to raise funds for his Sh3.64 trillion 2023/2024 budget.

Americans responded to Britain with a firm no. The Boston Tea Party in 1773 was a protest against London’s imposition of taxes on tea in the American colonies.

The event, in which a group of colonists threw tea crates into the Boston Harbor, was a key one that led to the American Revolution and the eventual formation of the United States.

Ruto’s Punitive Taxes

On top of the current taxes on fuel and basic food commodities making the cost of living in Kenya the highest in the country’s history, as of 1st January, the Ruto administration announced a 20% tax on Kenyans transferring money from their personal bank accounts into their mobile money transfers, commonly known as M-Pesa.

Starting in April, Kenyans will also have to pay more for electricity after EPRA ( Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority) announced that it intends to withdraw the monthly subsidy that cushions poor households and increase the prices by 78%.

Technology firms are also now charging a digital service tax of 16% for any transaction conducted on the internet. That includes streaming and listening to music online.

Without mortification, William Ruto says his government will not back down on its quest to collect more taxes, telling Kenyans to honour their tax obligations if they expect his government to deliver on its promises. So much from a two-faced leader who criticized his predecessor for heavily burdening Kenyans with taxes.

These taxes, if allowed, will have a detrimental impact on our economy and our individual financial well-being. So, they must fall. Kenyans are speaking out and resisting them. They are not an effective way to address the issues they are intended to solve. They place an unfair burden on overtaxed Kenyans.

Ruto government should first explain to the Kenyan taxpayer in black and white, what it is currently doing to support existing policies that promote economic growth. How it plans to encourage manufacturing and job creation when increasing the cost of production, and the cost of power. Not Punitive Taxes.

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