Azimio la Umoja One, the leader of Kenya's coalition party, Raila Odinga, has advised President William Ruto's administration to cut its operating budget by at least Ksh500 billion to free up resources for more urgent mitigation measures.
to reduce living costs.
The opposition leader, speaking on Friday at the “Transforming a Nation” conference organised by the Konrad Adenaueur Stiftung Foundation in Nairobi, said the government must make helping Kenyans its main focus.
According to the former prime minister, this goal will be achieved by implementing a number of policy changes, such as reducing taxes and promoting production.
“To free up resources to achieve these goals, the government needs to cut the budget by about Ksh 500 billion.
Current policies have hit low-income families especially hard—the same low-income families the government has promised to support,” he said.
"These families spend more than 40% of their income on food; they deserve and need support. In particular, we must reduce fuel taxes and increase social benefits.
Today we demand tax cuts, not tax increases; Kenyans need to see their taxes reduced, not increased.
We believe that the current tax regime is unsustainable. Mr. Odinga then criticised “Hustler's” narrative of the Kwanza campaign in Kenya, which he said was aimed at helping the poor by stealing from the rich and middle class of society, a policy that he believed would not solve the country's fundamental problems.
He criticised President Ruto's administration for the foundations it had laid in its first year in power, expressing concern that repairing the damage caused would take years if nothing was done to change direction immediately.
Leader Azimio further criticised the government's tax collection agency, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), for what he saw as burdening Kenyans with draconian policy changes with each passing day, even if they still fail to meet their tax obligations.
"We have warned from the beginning that, beyond a certain level, tax increases will lead to revenue declines.
This became a reality as KRA missed one revenue target after another. Fuel tax has increased, but fuel tax collection has decreased,” he said.
"We ask this question based on our experience establishing a government under the direction of NASA; we see a stagnant economy, negative growth, and very low revenue, so the government is just limping along.
When we went to the government to deal with the two sides of the balance sheet (revenue and expenditure), we found that the government was collecting Ksh 200 billion.
We looked at revenue sources: customs duties, income tax, VAT, etc., and then we also looked at the other aspect of expenditure.