Kenyans should be given the opportunity to vote on the housing levy that is included in the contentious Finance Bill 2023, according to Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna.
The proposed contribution has met uproar from the public and members of the opposition although the government has tried to explain why the housing levy should be made mandatory.
Sifuna claimed, during a Thursday appearance on Citizen TV’s Daybreak program, that the administration has been making decisions with complete ignorance and has hardly tried to consult the public about the best ways to raise money without raising living expenses.
“You are not listening to the hustler, to the professionals, civil society, us as the representatives of the people, you are closed up in this State House where you just sing hosanna from morning to evening and you impose these things without wanting to listen to anyone you just dismiss all of us,” he said.
“We don’t look for jobs to pay taxes, we look for jobs to improve our financial standing to help our families come out of poverty and feed our children.”
Sifuna added that the tax increases serve as a glaring example of their unwillingness to engage the public in productive dialogue.
“Listen to someone, the hustler is crying he is saying please don’t increase the VAT on fuel you are saying it will pass whether they like it or not,” he said.
“The hustler is telling you that they cannot afford an increase of Ksh.5 on bread and you have already increased the price of bread. You promised these hustlers that you were going to reduce the price of unga. You are lying to them every single day that Unga is Ksh.150, Ksh.160.”
The senator applauded, however, the citizens who have been conducting meetings to vent their complaints over the proposed Bill and urged them to invite leaders to the discussions.
“I am happy with Kenyans, I am happy with the civic responsibility is beginning to be taken seriously by Kenyans. Let Kenyans express themselves,” he said.
“I want to encourage every Kenyan that on this particular one because it is going to affect you, please speak to your MP.”
Sifuna said that the public, not Legislators, should be the ones to disprove the levies, citing Article 1 of the constitution, which declares the people’s sovereignty.
“I would have wished a situation where Kenyans themselves be given a chance to vote on this housing levy because as you have seen the current regime is deaf to all of us,” he said.
“Instead of the 290 MPs voting on this bill each constituency should vote on this tax, it should be very interesting.