• Tuesday, 25 June 2024
Safaricom warns that the country's economy may collapse if the Finance Bill is implemented

Safaricom warns that the country's economy may collapse if the Finance Bill is implemented

Kenya’s leading telco Safaricom, Amnesty International and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association are among entities that have rejected Finance Bill, 2024, warning that itss implementation will have a negative impact on the economy.

The entities further cautioned against increased taxation on essential goods and services stating that it will increase the general cost of living and drive the country into an economic crisis. 

Safaricom is opposed to the proposed increase of excise duty on internet data and mobile money transfer services provided by banks and cellular phone services to 20 per cent, as contained in the Bill.

The telco warned that the increase in operational costs will affect services such as M-Pesa, Hustler Fund, Inua Jamii, online education through CBC and international money transfers. 

“The cost of transactions will prevent ordinary wananchi from accessing crucial services,” said a representative of the mobile network operator.

Safaricom and other entities under Pricewaterhouse Coopers International Limited stated that increasing excise duty on mobile money fees will slow down the expansion of mobile money penetration in the economy, disadvantage low-income households and lead to job losses derived from digital economy activities such as online jobs and digital content creation. 

“Further, it will disadvantage low-income households creating hindrances in participating in the digital economy,” added Safaricom.

The Kenya Women's Parliamentary Association rejected the eco-levy, stating that it would increase the cost of essential goods such as sanitary pads and baby diapers by an extra Ksh.150 per kilo, which is already burdensome for households from poor backgrounds and persons with disabilities.

“Ordinary mwananchi can barely afford baby diapers and sanitary pads, this is a big blow to ensuring that these essential products are provided to ordinary citizens,” said Nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba.

Other entities which presented their oral submissions before the National Assembly’s Finance and Planning Committee including Amnesty International and Jumia raised concerns about the introduction of the motor vehicle tax, the reclassification of zero-rated supplies to exempt supplies, the introduction of excise duties on specified goods such as vegetable oils at a rate of 25 per cent, and the exemption from imports declaration fee and railway development levy of products.

However, youth lobby groups such as Youth Health Advocates and Kenya Muslims Women Alliance supported the proposed taxation on wine, calling for an increase in tax on beer, which they claim is currently cheap and easily accessible to learners. 

 “Our youth are getting lost due to alcohol…it’s cheap and readily accessible. Increase tax on Ksh.33 per litre,” said Youth Health Advocates Harrison Ngang’a.

Friday’s session marked the end of stakeholders’ engagement paving the way for Monday’s mwananchi open conference at KICC.

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