Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Finance Bill 2024 Amended: A Reflection of Public Views

Finance Bill 2024 Amended: A Reflection of Public Views
Finance Bill 2024 Amended: A Reflection of Public Views

Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group met at State House Nairobi on Tuesday.  MPs and Senators were taken through the changes made to the Finance Bill 2024 by Finance Committee Chairman Kimani Kuria.

Speaking at the meeting, President William Ruto said the changes to the Finance Bill have taken into account the views of the people and other stakeholders during public participation sessions.

The President commended Kenyans for their contributions through public participation.

“We are going to end up with a product in Parliament that came from the Executive and has been interrogated by the Legislature. Through public participation, the people of Kenya have had a say,” he said.

The Finance Bill has been amended to remove the proposed 16 per cent VAT on bread, transportation of sugar, financial services, foreign exchange transactions as well as the 2.5 per cent Motor Vehicle Tax.

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Additionally, there will be no increase in mobile money transfer fees, and Excise Duty on vegetable oil has also been removed.

Levies on the Housing Fund and the proposed one on Social Health Insurance will not attract income tax, putting much more money in the pockets of employees.

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The proposed Eco Levy will only be imposed on imported finished products that contribute to e-waste and thus harm the environment when they are no longer in use.

Consequently, locally manufactured products, including sanitary towels, diapers, phones, computers, tyres and motorcycles, and I’ll not attract the Eco Levy.

The President said the government is making efforts to curb importation of products that can be locally produced, thus protecting local manufacturing and securing jobs for the people.

“The stability you see in the foreign exchange regime is a result of our deliberate policies to reduce imports of things that are produced locally,” the President said.

He said the Eco Levy will be imposed on imported finished products, while those locally manufactured are exempted.

Consequently, locally manufactured products, including sanitary towels, diapers, phones, computers, tyres, and motorcycles, will not attract the Eco Levy.

The threshold for VAT registration has been increased from KSh5 million to KSh8 million, meaning that many small businesses will no longer need to register for VAT.

The electronic invoicing ETIMS, recently introduced by the Kenya Revenue Authority, has been rescinded from farmers and small businesses with a turnover of below KSh1 million.

The Finance Bill has also imposed excise duty on imported table eggs, onions and potatoes to protect local farmers.

In the Bill, excise duty on alcoholic beverages will now be taxed based on alcohol content and not volume.

Additionally, pension contributions exemption will increase from KSh20,000 per month to KSh30,000.

On his part, the President explained that more resources have been allocated to education because it is the greatest equaliser

“The money we are putting into education is not an expenditure; it is an investment because we are investing in the future of our children,” he said.

He said KSh18 billion has been provided for the employment of Junior Secondary teachers who are on internship.

He said funds have also been provided to hire 20,000 interns next month.

At the same time, President Ruto said the Executive and the Legislature will continue to work together in making the right decisions for the country.

President Ruto said tough decisions have yielded fruits, citing the drop in inflation from 9 per cent in 2022 to 5.1 per cent in May and strengthening of the shilling against the dollar.

He said the government is working on achieving a balanced budget in the next three years, pointing out that this will reduce borrowing and ensure that the country lives within its means.

President Ruto said the new university funding model has revolutionised the financial situation of public universities, noting that parents who can afford to pay for their children’s education have not applied for scholarships, freeing up more money for students from poor families.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said increasing tax on alcohol with high alcoholic content will boost the fight against alcoholism.

On the increased allocation of funds to the National Government Constituency Development Fund, he said it will enable MPs to initiate transformative development in their constituencies.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said the Kenya Kwanza administration will not fall into the trap of being a populist government, but one that makes the right decisions for the good of the nation.

Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, who is also the chairperson of the United Democratic Party (UDA), asked legislators to pass the Finance Bill as Kenyans await major development programmes that will transform their lives.

Molo MP Kimani Kuria, who is also the chairperson of the Finance Committee in the National Assembly, said the Finance Bill aims to generate an additional KSh302 billion in revenue, which is intended to bolster the projected total revenues for the year to KSh3.3 trillion.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who is also the chairperson of the Budget and Appropriations Committee in the National Assembly, said the Bill is crafted to finance the country’s development agenda, citing education and agriculture as the biggest beneficiaries.

During the meeting, President Ruto asked the legislators to focus on the implementation of programmes that will transform the lives of the people.

“The people were so united in electing us; let us also be united in serving them,” he said.

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Finance Bill 2024 Amended, Views Of the People Considered

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