Trojan News :: Real Time News


Ruto To Engage Youth Over Controversial Finance Bill Protests

KENYAN President William Ruto has announced plans to engage with young people who have vocally opposed the introduction of new taxes under the Finance Bill 2024. The proposed bill, which includes an eco levy on imported items such as electronic gadgets, sanitary towels, and diapers, has sparked significant unrest among the youth, leading to protests on Tuesday and Thursday.

The eco levy targets products contributing to environmental degradation and will also raise the costs of motorcycles, tyres, and batteries. Additionally, the bill proposes a 16 percent value-added tax (VAT) on locally produced films, further fuelling the discontent.


Bread and vehicle taxes scrapped

Earlier, Ruto’s administration had proposed a 16 percent VAT on bread and a 2.5 percent annual tax on the value of vehicles. However, both measures were abandoned following widespread public protests. Despite these concessions, Kenyans remain resistant to further tax increases, arguing that they are already burdened by heavy taxation.

Planned nationwide protests

Youth activists have scheduled more nationwide protests for Tuesday, coinciding with the parliament’s final deliberations on the Finance Bill 2024. The bill passed its last sitting on Thursday, but opposition remains strong.

Speaking at a church function in Nyahururu, President Ruto acknowledged the youth’s right to protest, calling it their ‘democratic duty.’ He promised to hold conversations with the young protesters to address their concerns, although he did not specify when and how these discussions would take place.

‘We are going to have a conversation with you… so that we can identify your issues,’ Ruto told the youth, assuring them that the government is ‘concerned’ about their grievances and committed to engaging them in a ‘democratic’ manner.

Budget and revenue targets

The Finance Bill 2024 is part of Ruto’s administration’s plan to fund a KSh3.9 trillion ($30.2bn) budget for the 2024/25 financial year. The government aims to raise an additional KSh300bn ($2.3bn) in taxes through the proposed measures. The total revenue target for the new financial year is KSh3.3 trillion ($25.5bn), with the deficit expected to be covered through borrowing.

As Kenya navigates these financial challenges, the dialogue between the government and its youth will be crucial in shaping the nation’s economic future.

About The Author