Protests Erupt in Kenya Over New Tax Increases

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Protests have erupted across Kenya following the approval of significant tax increases by lawmakers, which have proven unpopular even among supporters of President William Ruto. The tax on petroleum products has doubled from 8% to 16%, likely leading to higher prices for goods and services throughout East Africa’s economic hub.

President Ruto, who was elected last year on promises to reduce the cost of living, has faced criticism from supporters like Evelyne Adhiambo, who said the administration has made life harder, with food prices higher than before the elections. The new tax measures also include higher income tax rates and additional taxes for housing and medical insurance, resulting in some Kenyans losing about 40% of their income.

Economist Aly Khan Satchu highlighted the widespread impact of the new taxes, which affect every segment of the population. Small businesses, struggling since the COVID-19 pandemic, are hit particularly hard with an increase in tax on total sales from 1% to 3%. Business owner Moses Munyao warned this could lead to closures as businesses cannot afford to pay the higher taxes. Meanwhile, President Ruto defends the tax hikes as necessary to reduce the country’s significant public debt.

Source: Daily Trust

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