‘Punitive taxes killing small businesses in Kenya,’ Raila says


ODM party leader Raila Odinga addresses the press outside his Capitol Hill offices on November 13, 2020.
FILE PHOTO | ODM party leader Raila Odinga addresses the press outside his Capitol Hill offices on November 13, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

Raila Odinga, the leader of the ODM, has stated that the current tax regime is unfavorable to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and is destroying the morale of businessmen and women.

Raila said last Friday in Kiambu County, where he met with businessmen and women from the Mt. Kenya region, that local businesses are overburdened, forcing them to close.

He claimed that the closure of local businesses has made it easier for Chinese businessmen to bring goods into the country at lower taxes.

According to the former Prime Minister the taxation is disadvantageous to the growth of Kenya’s economy.

Raila claims that punitive taxes imposed on businessmen have resulted in the closure of many businesses, resulting in the loss of many jobs.

“The only way the government can encourage local businesses to grow in the spirit of Buy Kenya, Build Kenya was by relaxing some of the regulations and demands by the taxpayer adding that this will motivate young entrepreneurs to do business locally,'” Raila said.

He urged the business community to reject tribalism and work to strengthen the country’s economy.

“Back in the day, we were at the same level with Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea, today, close to six decades, these countries are wining and dining with the big brothers. Kenya is still struggling to catch up because of corruption and other vices” he added.

Former Nairobi deputy governor turned businessman Polycarp Igathe, who convened the meeting, said the time had come for Kenyans to embrace a business-oriented leadership, claiming that the country’s businessmen and women had suffered in the past.

“Next year going forward, we must mean business. For a long time, we have been talking politics and not business, it is time we changed for the better of our economy”, he said.

Igathe believes that if Kenyans elect leaders who care about business rather than politics from morning to evening, the country’s economy will flourish.

“I invited Hon. Raila Odinga to this event because I have known him not only as a politician, but also a businessman, and I believe if he works closely with the business community, he can mean business” said Igathe.

Former Gatanga Member of Parliament Peter Kenneth claimed that over-taxation of local businessmen/women had brought the country’s economy to its knees. He stated that if some of these taxes were reduced and a more conducive environment created for businessmen, the economy would grow and more opportunities would be created for young men and women.

The theme of the meeting that brought together one thousand businessmen and women was We Mean Business.

The meeting was attended by among others Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Businessmen Fred Rabong’o, George Wainaina among others.

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