Kenya: Wandayi – Azimio Won’t Amend Finance Bill, Flawed Beyond Redemption

Nairobi — Azimio La Umoja One Kenya has said they will not introduce any amendments to the proposed Finance Bill 2023 arguing that the bill is too flawed to be redeemed through amendments.

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi emphasized that the Raila Odinga-led coalition will not attempt to reverse the attempts to defeat the proposed increase in taxes by introducing amendments to change contentious clauses in the bill.

“In our view this bill is flawed beyond redemption, we are going to reject it in total. We are not going to propose any amendments to it as Azimio,” said Wandayi.

The Minority Leader urged the Kenya Kwanza Alliance to withdraw the bill insisting there’s ample time for the budget process to commence afresh.

The 2022/2023 financial year is set to end on June 30 and the National Assembly is supposed to have concluded the passage of the budget and appropriation bill and the Finance Bill by the end of the month.

“We have said time and again that there is still time to withdraw this bill and bring it back in a form that is responsive to the plight of the people and acceptable. Our plea has fallen on deaf ears so far,” Wandayi stated.

He further pointed out that in the event President William Ruto’s administration commences the process afresh and fails to submit the proposed bill for passage by end of this month, no crisis will emerge.

He stated that the current finance bill will continue being in force subject to the approval and passage of the Finance Bill 2023.

“Nothing will happen. Life will continue because as we speak there is a finance act 2022 which is in place. It will continue to work. The notion that the Finance Bill is a matter of life and death is not true,” said Wandayi.

In the meantime, Azimio Leader Raila Odinga has implored his erstwhile rival President William Ruto to withdraw the contentious Finance Bill 2023 immediately.

Odinga has asked President Ruto’s administration to commence the process of formulating the tax bill afresh and to further seek forgiveness and apology to the common Mwananchi following the agitation the bill has erupted.

The Finance Committee is expected to table the bill in the National Assembly on June 13th days before the budgeting reading having undergone public participation.

“We ask Ruto to humble himself, withdraw this bill and offer an apology and seek forgiveness from Kenyans from the anxiety caused and begin afresh,” he said.

Despite losing out in numbers in the National Assembly to defeat the Finance Bill, the Azimio Coalition is hopeful that lawmakers will vote to oppose the bill citing the tax burden Kenyans will bear if it sails through.

However, should the MPs vote along political party lines, Odinga has said they will move the tussle to the streets.

Odinga pointed out that the Kenya Kwanza Administration had resorted to threats to intimidate legislators to pass the Finance Bill.

“We have noted that the regime has ran out of sound bites and explanations for these proposals and has resorted to threats. But we have agreed with our MPs on what to do: vote against any tax rises,” Odinga stated.

“Should Ruto overrun the National Assembly, we will regroup and overrun him in the wider National Assembly of the whole people of Kenya,” he added.

The Azimio Coalition Leader spelled doom on the country in the event the Finance Bill passes with the proposal submitted by the National Treasury.

He cited that the move to amend laws relating to various taxes and duties such as the Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, Tax Procedures Act and Excise Duty Act will stifle the economic growth in the country.

“This Bill is economic sabotage. If Ruto insists on this Bill, this country will go into full recession.This Bill requires and must get fierce resistance,”Odinga noted.

Poking holes on the Housing Flagship Project by the government which will require employed Kenyans to part with 3 percent of their salary,Odinga termed it a fantasy dream.