In today’s news broadcasts, it’s become inevitable to avoid discussions about taxes and levies that seem to emerge daily, making watching Kenyan news a daunting task. What was once a delight for many households turned into a burden. It’s disheartening to be confronted with burdensome information every day, especially in a very challenging economy where many Kenyans struggle to afford a single meal.

Two taxes that have sparked significant uproar across the country are the housing levy and the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF). When the housing levy was first introduced, it raised concerns for both employees and employers, as it required a certain amount to be remitted on behalf of employees. While the government insists it’s a project highlighted in their manifesto, many Kenyans question why they should bear the burden, especially if it wasn’t indicated in the manifesto. Questions remain unanswered, such as what happens to those who already have homes and don’t need affordable housing and why the government can’t deduct the levy only from those interested in the houses. Despite being discussed in public participation and parliament and facing numerous legal challenges, the bill was eventually passed into law, leaving salaried Kenyans awaiting implementation with uncertainty

The other contentious tax is the Social Health Insurance Fund. While the concept is appealing, allowing access to hospital services without cost barriers, Kenyans remain sceptical due to past mismanagement of funds, particularly with the NHIF. The government must demonstrate a commitment to proper implementation to gain public trust.

Ultimately, addressing the issue of fund mismanagement is crucial for national development. Trust in tax collection and fund management is eroded by corruption. As a nation, we are not against development, but trust must be restored through decisive action against corruption.

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