- In a bold statement, Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition, expressed deep concern over the proposed Finance Bill 2023 by the ruling regime.
- Rather than burdening them further, they urged President William Ruto to undertake a series of measures.
- As the political landscape heats up and the Finance Bill's fate hangs in the balance, Raila's firm stance and comprehensive alternative proposals set the stage for a battle that will shape Kenya's economic future.
In a bold statement, Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition, expressed deep concern over the proposed Finance Bill 2023 by the ruling regime.
Raila criticized the government's lack of substantive explanations and resorting to threats, signalling a growing frustration within the opposition.
Highlighting the burden imposed on the Kenyan people, Raila emphasized that the proposed Bill would result in excessive taxation without tangible benefits.
Referring to it as "economic sabotage," he warned of the dire consequences, including the potential for a full-scale recession if the Bill were to proceed.
"No regime has imposed so many high taxes on our people in return for nothing except fantasies and fairy tales. This Bill is economic sabotage," Raila said.
"If Ruto insists on this Bill, this country will go into full recession. This Bill requires and must get fierce resistance."
Raila's coalition presented an alternative vision to alleviate the financial strain on Kenyans. Rather than burdening them further, they urged President William Ruto to undertake a series of measures.
First, they called for the elimination of duplicated roles and responsibilities between the national and county levels, particularly in the healthcare sector.
Additionally, they advocated for zero-based budgeting, ensuring that each budget starts from scratch and justifies every expenditure.
To live within the means of the country, Odinga's coalition proposed cutting down the size of the budget and sealing revenue loopholes instead of imposing new taxes.
They further demanded a reduction in non-essential government expenditures, such as non-essential travel, allowances, and the size of the government itself.
Moreover, the Azimio La Umoja coalition urged Ruto to prioritize the fight against corruption and the misappropriation of public funds.
In a conciliatory tone, they requested that Ruto humbly withdraw the Bill, apologize for the anxiety caused, and seek forgiveness from the Kenyan people.
Below is the full list of Azimio's pieces of advice Ruto should consider exploring instead of burdening Kenyans :
1. Stop duplication of county roles and responsibilities. In the proposed Bill, budget for health is growing by Ksh35 billion at the national level, yet health is a devolved functions.
2. Adopt zero-based budgeting. Don’t take the previous budget as the baseline. Every budget must start at ground zero where everything has to be justified.
3. Don’t grow size of the budget, cut it down and live within your means.
4. Instead of imposing new taxes, seal the loopholes that lead to loss of revenue.
5. Stop non-essential government expenditures including the appointment of Chief Administrative Secretaries.
6. Reduce the size of government.
7. Cut non-essential Domestic and international travel.
8. Freeze ministerial out of station allowances, ministerial house allowances and domestic allowance for cabinet and principal secretaries.
9. Stop corruption and theft of public funds.
10. Finally, we ask Ruto to humble himself, withdraw this Bill, offer apology and seek forgiveness from Kenyans for the anxiety caused, then begin afresh.
As the political landscape heats up and the Finance Bill's fate hangs in the balance, Raila's firm stance and comprehensive alternative proposals set the stage for a battle that will shape Kenya's economic future.
With the promise of fierce resistance, the stage is set for a wider confrontation in the National Assembly of the whole people of Kenya, should Ruto's agenda prevail over the concerns voiced by the opposition.
In the coming weeks, Kenyans will witness a critical moment in their nation's history, as the fate of the Finance Bill 2023 is decided.
The outcome will not only determine the economic trajectory but also test the leadership's ability to respond to the concerns and aspirations of the people they serve.