Speaking in Nandi County on Monday, Mr Ruto defended Finance Act, 2018, saying the government did not ask for taxes without a plan and is prepared to account for money collected from Kenyans.
“We have a comprehensive plan on how to utilise the funds. We cannot tax Kenyans without a clear plan,” he said at Kapsabet Showground during the launch of the county’s integrated development plan.
Mr Ruto further dismissed claims that the government is over-borrowing, reiterating that the money is used to transform Kenya.
He noted that the country’s debt currently stands at 5.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which translates to Sh560 billion.
“We may have challenges here and there but tremendous transformation is going on in the country. Kenya will only move forward through development, not empty political rhetoric. Don’t listen to naysayers who have no plan for this country,” he said.
[BUSINESS] Raila says VAT on petroleum products necessary: KISUMU, Kenya, Sep 24 – NASA leader Raila Odinga has endorsed the downgrading of the fuel taxation from 16 percent to 8 percent by President Uhuru Kenya.. https://t.co/po4GXqnmgx
— Breaking News (@News_Kenya) September 25, 2018
Mr Ruto’s sentiments were echoed by Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, who spoke separately. The two rarely agree.
Speaking in Kisumu County, Mr Odinga said that raising taxes is the lesser evil that Kenya can control.
He said that the alternative would be borrowing from international lenders, a move he noted will plunge the country into further debt.
The National Super Alliance leader addressed youths in Kondele and Kibuye, after they stopped him for an explanation on why he did not rally his troops to shoot down the proposal in Parliament.
Mr Odinga termed the move the only option since Kenya is at a crossroads due to a financial crisis.
The DP said they will meet MPs who opposed to the new Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products.
He warned traders out to take advantage of the new tax against increasing the prices of commodities and services.
“The tax was only increased by eight percent. How does fare increase from Sh100 to Sh200?”
Mr Ruto also threw his weight behind the new housing levy, saying it is necessary to ensure affordable houses for Kenyans.
Affordable housing is one of the four aspects of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda. The others are manufacturing, universal healthcare and food security.
With the passage of the VAT on petroleum products and other revenue collection measures, the government expects to raise Sh48 billion.