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Speaking in Ruiru Stadium during a special prayer meeting on Sunday, President Kenyatta said the Jubilee Government only finalized the law.
CORD leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga last Wednesday protested the implementation of the new VAT law, saying it will hurt the economy and impoverish Kenyans.
He was quoted by Kenya’s Standard as warning that Kenyans can only brace for tougher times ahead if the Jubilee Government does not rethink the new tax regime.
The former Premier further said CORD was advising Jubilee to consider reducing VAT from the current 16 per cent to 14 per cent in a bid to encourage more spending and thus spread the net of those who are taxed due to more spending.
“VAT is basically an attack on consumption trends and habits. It is the cruellest way for a government to raise money in an economy that is depressed and underperforming,” he said.
“If the government wants to raise revenue, there are better, less painful ways of doing so without making taxation a burden,” Raila said.
The grand-coalition government had zero-rated VAT on some essential and consumer commodities including food and processed milk whose prices have now shot up.
“There is no doubt a chain reaction of prices will follow as costs of transport go up, cost of farm inputs increase and those who offer services to make the economy run put up their costs as well,” said Odinga at a special press conference in Nairobi.
However, addressing a huge gathering at Ruiru Stadium, Kenyatta wondered: “Why are they complaining? The Bill was brought up when they were in government. The Jubilee government only finalized it.”
During the prayer meeting attended by over 45 Members of Parliament, the President told CORD leader to stop politicizing passage of the VAT Act as he was part of it.
The President further warned traders who are taking advantage of the VAT Act implementation to hike prices of basic commodities that a stern action will be taken against them.
He also said traders cannot be justified in the price increments when they fail to remit the required taxes to the Government.
Deputy President William Ruto called on all leaders elected on the Jubilee ticket to shun distractive activities and support the Government deliver on its development agenda for the country.
Thanking Kenyans for voting into office the Jubilee Coalition, the Deputy President assured the country that the Government will fulfill all campaign pledges.a