Current Kenya Tax System is not Fair! Kenyans say
Oxfam Tax Justice Baseline Report Launch
Oxfam in Kenya will tomorrow, 31st January launch a baseline report on the tax justice project detailing the existing legislation on taxation, public participation, resource mobilization, allocation and expenditure in Turkana, Wajir and Nairobi Counties. The report also covers the tax regime in Kenya and ways to make Kenya’s tax regime more progressive.
In summary, the report states that Kenyans felt that most of their taxes did not go into delivery of quality services and that the existing tax system is not fair to everyone. Those at the bottom of society, the poor, were overly taxed yet the return on their tax was not commensurate to the public services received and poverty reduction programmes. There was an overall feeling that whilst tax revenues went up and taxes increased; both in breadth and in rates, this was not translating into desirable outcomes such as increased provisioning and improved access to quality services and goods. On the other hand, majority of people at the bottom of the society would not evade their taxes, however increasingly those in the urban areas and more educated would more likely evade paying taxes if not satisfied with the quality of services provided.
Additionally, Kenyans say that they are not sufficiently included in the budget process while majority had not participated in public engagement forums to discuss county budget issues. Regarding existing legislation in the three counties in Kenya (Turkana, Nairobi and Wajir) on taxation, public participation, resource mobilization, allocation and expenditure, there appeared to be sufficient legislation to anchor participation. However, the implementation and establishment of key provisions of such legislation in order to achieve meaningful participation was still work in progress.
Citizens therefore rightfully expect of their governments, efficient, fair, equitable and transparent delivery of public services and goods. However in most counties, public budgeting still remains the preserve of the executive though the value of opening budget processes is increasingly appreciated in many settings across the developing world. The report proposes practical solutions to addressing citizens concerns in ensuring a tax system that works for all and not just the rich.
About Oxfam’s Tax Justice Programme
In the quest for poverty alleviation and reducing the economic inequality in Kenya, one of the ultimate issues to address is the provision and accessibility of quality essential public services. The Tax Justice programme is focusing on ensuring that the government can mobilise and manage domestic resources while also creating citizen awareness on how to engage with their taxes, with the National and County budgets and thereafter use this knowledge to hold duty bearers to account towards quality essential services.
For media enquiries, in depth discussion on the report findings or to arrange interview opportunities, please contact