The Azimio Parliamentary Group has explained why they are opposed to the Finance Bill 2023 after voting unanimously to reject it. The Raila Odinga-led faction demanded that the Kenya Kwanza administration withdraw the bill for review in a statement given to the reporters following a meeting in Nairobi.
Azimio noted that the Finance Bill, which suggested a slew of tax increases, is unpopular among Kenyans.
“We oppose the burden being imposed on working people through reckless measures like house levy, income tax and taxes on per diem. We oppose increased taxes on start-ups and small businesses. We oppose increasing taxes on fuel which will raise the cost of the product by at least Ksh10,” said the coalition in a statement read by Opiyo Wandayi.
“Azimio is of the view that this Finance Bill takes us back to the 1980s. It takes us back to the era of cost-sharing in public institutions. It takes us back to the era of Structural Adjustment Programs. It takes us back to the 1980s because the people who were in charge back then, are in charge today,” read the statement in part.
According to the Azimio PG, the Kenya Kwanza government sought to extract billions from Kenya’s poorest citizens while expecting the opposition to rejoice.
“We take the position that the budget proposals offer completely no support for working people and upcoming businesses, for the taxes being levied, people are getting nothing in return,” Azimio confirmed.
The opposition MPs raised worry about the government of President William Ruto misusing finances and public resources.
The PG, on the other hand, revealed that they had chosen Embakasi West MP Mark Mwenje to replace Nominated MP Sabina Chege as Deputy Minority Whip of the National Assembly.
“We recognize Mwenje as a committed, consistent, energetic and youthful fighter who has shown the will to stand up for the people and the party. We have no doubt that he will prove equal to the task,” the leaders explained.
About the bipartisan negotiations, Azimio leaders insisted that they would be suspended unless the Kenya Kwanza team met their new demands.
One of Azimio’s demands was that Kenya Kwanza agree to hold by-elections for all Jubilee MPs who defected in accordance with the constitution.