Saturday, June 22, 2024

Kenya: Public Workers Threaten Industrial Action Over Govt Taxation Proposals

Nairobi — Public Sector Trade Unions have threatened to call for industrial action if the proposed taxation in the Finance Bill is enacted into law.

In a statement read by Kenya Universities Staff Union Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya, the unions said they are concerned that the average public sector worker is already over-taxed.

“We are urging Parliament to reject the proposed amendments 2023, we are also urging the government to reduce taxes imposed on workers and we call upon the government to immediately engage representatives of workers unions to agree on the best way forward,” he stated.

Mukhwaya said the Kenyan economy is facing many challenges, including soaring inflation and a high cost of living which, the government is yet to tackle them.

“The Finance Bill 2023, if passed the way it is, will see total deductions of upto 22 percent of one’s monthly earnings, with the remaining 48 percent still subjected to 16 percent VAT of all goods and services bought, whose prices are ever increasing. The rising cost of living makes a public service employee a slave who cannot afford a decent life,” he said.

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli has advised the government to be cautious in its approach to tax hikes, stating that they can be counterproductive.

The Treasury last week submitted the Finance Bill 2023, to the Parliament where it is proposing changes to the Employment Act to allow deductions of three percent from employees’ basic pay to help fund President William Ruto’s ambitious plan to build low-cost homes.