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Shelve large projects to ease tax pain, says MP

Kwale Woman Representative Zuleikha Juma has urged the government to put on hold large infrastructure projects that take up big chunks of the national budget.

She said often huge infrastructure budgets disrupt lives of Kenyans while sinking them further into poverty. “The standard gauge railway (SGR) project is a case in point,” she said on Monday regarding the debate on increased taxes.

Juma said citizens should not be taxed further because most are already burdened by the high cost of living prior to the increase in fuel prices, which has a domino effect on all other commodities.

“Citizens have been struggling to pay school fees, medical expenses, transport and food,” she said. “In Kwale boda boda costs have doubled. This has caused transportation in the county to be out of reach for many people,” she added.

In a statement sent to media houses, the county MP said further measures should be put in place to stem corruption in government instead of burdening citizens with taxes.

“From various expert reports, we can save Sh600 billion per year, which can go a long way in helping offset deficits,” she said.

Juma said the executive should invest more in supplying the basic services required by the citizens including adequate water supply, access to free education up to secondary level and access to free and quality healthcare.

“With this, more Kenyans will be economically and socially empowered and the expected outcome will be growth in the economy,” she said.

Her statement comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta rejected the Finance Bill, 2018, which would have seen the 16 per cent VAT on fuel and petroleum products shelved until 2020.

Uhuru, instead, proposed that tax be reduced by half and he returned the Bill to Parliament, which is expected to hold a Special Sitting today and Thursday.

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