Nominated senator Karen Nyamu has sparked a debate about the country’s outcry over high taxation.
Speaking during an interview with NTV, Nyamu addressed concerns about the rise in taxes, asserting that the majority of protesters who voice their opposition to the high taxes neither have an income nor are subject to taxes.
“Those making the loudest noise about taxes do not even have an income or salary. I don’t know if you know that. Those who do not have a salary do not get taxed anything. They only hear that taxes are being paid and make noise about it,” Nyamu said.
Nyamu went on to explain the principles of the Kenya Kwanza government’s tax regime, claiming that it adheres to the bottom-up economic model.
She contended that high-income earners in the nation bear the brunt of the taxation and should be the people agitating against the taxes.
“Bottom-up means that those with the biggest salary are the ones who are supposed to be complaining because we have seriously been hit by taxes,” she said.
“We feel it is a huge difference. Taxes have been reduced on Jua Kali; SMEs hold our economy together. That sector is not being taxed, and the burden is shifted to the big salaried individuals,”
Nyamu acknowledged the importance of taxes for the nation’s development, both in Kenya and globally, while highlighting the issue of corruption in managing tax revenues.
“The problem here in Kenya is corruption. Because, despite being taxed, the money is pocketed by a few individuals. ” she continued.
“I see a lot of people complaining on social media. But those people are not even salaried; they are just on a noise-making bandwagon. Taxes are good. Kenya cannot grow and develop without taxes.”
Nyamu, when asked about the increase in value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products from 8 % to 16 %, said that the situation could have been worse were it not for the government meetings with manufacturers to ensure the cost does not get to the end consumer.
“When prices of goods are being hiked in prices and taxes, it’s transferred to the producer; it’s the producers who feel the burden because the government is always brokering deals to maintain prices reasonably,” she continued.