Be patient with new government, says Mudavadi

Written by on 14 November 2022

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has defended the performance of the Kenya Kwanza government as the 100 days mark approaches.

Mudavadi said despite the difficult times being experienced especially because of the huge public debt, the worsening economic situation and the drought and famine in many parts of the country, ultimately things will turn around.

“We are at the nuptial stages, but we will hack it. The good thing is we are all on the same page on what we want to do and achieve in terms of service delivery and support to Kenyans. The Chinese have a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. In the adversity that we face today, we must seek opportunity and keep the eye on the ball, for there is hope,” said Mudavadi.

He hinted that the first meeting of President William Ruto’s Cabinet last Thursday came up with a roadmap on the new administration’s agenda.

While dismissing critics who are claiming that the government had failed in handling the high cost of living, he said that work towards that end had started.

Empty trough

Mudavadi said the Executive arm of government had hit the ground running in laying the foundation towards economic recovery, job creation and food security.

“The high cost of living is an inherited deluge of a government that lived beyond its means, a headache that the former government left to us. It didn’t happen by accident but by commission and omissions. You cannot sincerely attribute the current pain Kenyans are going through to this government. We are changing tact from feeding on an empty trough of consumption to filling the production granary.

He maintained that the Jubilee administration used “the scorched-earth-policy” approach, as an attempt to set Ruto’s government for failure and this is where serious policy decisions will have to be made to bring the economy back on the right trajectory while easing the cost of living.

“We live in an economy where more than 1.4 million people are unemployed, close to four million are under-employed and many more continue to join these ranks. We are wasting talent that can contribute to building the nation. We have a plan to invest in ventures that will create jobs for these Kenyans. We are setting up structures to boost close to 10 million informal sector workers,”  Mudavadi said in an interview with People Daily.

Punitive taxation

There has been an outcry by opposition leaders who claim that taxation proposals being made by President Ruto’s government were punitive.

ODM leader Raila Odinga has said Kenyans  should not be burdened with heavy taxation.

“As far as I am aware, the Kenya Kwanza government hasn’t made any taxation proposals yet. When such proposals are made, they must be approved or rejected by Parliament. I suspect the opposition leaders are confusing existing punitive taxation measures put in place by the previous regime with what might come from our new government in the form of a supplementary budget. They should not superimpose issues. We are trying to cure a malady that pre-existed us,” said Mudavadi.

He rubbished the reasoning behind utterances that paint a picture that the Kenya Kwanza administration plans to have every Kenyan above 18 years brought into the tax bracket through forcible acquisition of the KRA PIN number.

“Making it easier for potentially eligible persons to pay tax by simplifying registration procedures does not equate to ‘bringing every Kenyan above 18 years into the tax bracket’. What we are aiming at is to make registration for tax contribution easier and more efficient and using this also as a way of creating broad awareness about one’s responsibility to contribute to nation building. I may add that the idea of a KRA pin number is anticipatory; it is not meant to tax every Kenyan. It is a pre-emptive move, so that you grow up with it rather than having to hassle to get it. The idea is meant to lessen tensions for Kenyans seeking employment. It is also helpful to KRA in monitoring who has graduated as a taxpayer. It’s good for the country. You can only misconceive it if you support tax evaders,” said Mudavadi.

Pension savings

The Prime Cabinet Secretary, who served as Finance minister in President Daniel arap Moi’s government, said plans will be put in place to expand the tax base thus ensuring more revenue is collected without necessarily increasing taxes on Kenyans and businesses.

On the Opposition’s claim that National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) were being mismanaged and it would not make sense to pump more money there as suggested by President Ruto, he said reforms will be undertaken in the institutions.

He said a country that saves more is assured of more domestic resources to guarantee a post-pension life for its citizens, and it can use the resources during the working lifetime of the saver to invest and further expand the economy.

Open door

“In our Plan, we intend to restructure these two vital institutions to benefit Kenyans. The government is encouraging working Kenyans to save enough through NSSF to insure themselves in retirement. For every penny you save, the government and employer will top it up in equal measure. The final beneficiary is that retiring Kenyan worker. We are yet to understand why the opposition is opposed to this valuable proposal. What is their remedy then?” paused Mudavadi during the interview.

He said his office will operate on an open-door policy with a focus on service delivery to Kenyans, a principle that he said was Kenya Kwanza’s approach towards restoring public trust in government.

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