The Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance has termed the whole budget a tool for the Haves leaving millions of Haves not to fend for themselves.
The proposed 3.07 trillion shillings 2018-2019 budget has attracted sharp criticism from various groups with the Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance being the most vocal and terming the whole budget a tool for the Haves and leaving millions of Haves not to fend for themselves.
“Faced with a fiscal crisis as a consequence of graft and over borrowing, the Government is choosing to balance the books on the backs of the poor people, by increasing the cost of basic goods for instance food,” the alliance says.
The group says that the trend has been set where the annual budget no longer addresses the most basic needs of the majority poor.
Compared to the 2017-2018 budget where the country spent Sh2.6 trillion, the new financial year is up by over Sh4 trillion.
On Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich is expected to announce 2018-19 budget which will highlight allocations to various state functions.
According to the National Treasury, the 2018-2019 budget proposal is focusing majorly on the big four agenda that is manufacturing, food security, universal health care and affordable housing.
However, the Alliance says as much as this is a positive step towards development, the budget must invest in the basic needs as well because most mega projects have been turned into a cash cow for the few selfish people.
The alliance proposes that government should instead use the national budget to design ways of reducing the perennial gap between the rich and the poor by taxing the rich more than the poor and allocating more funds to free universal health care, education and reducing tax on commodities like food stuffs.
Their argument is supported by Wanjiru Njoroge from the Daughters of Mumbi Resource Center, an independent, non-partisan network based in Kabete, Nairobi, who says the budget has never worked for the small scale women traders especially in the slums who need the tax breaks more than the Kenyan tycoons.
“These women work hard and the little they earn is taken away by the tax man” Wanjiru says.
According to Oxfam International, extreme inequality is out of control in Kenya.
Less than 0.1% of the population (8,300 people) own more wealth than the bottom 99.9% (more than 44 million people).
The Kenyan taxpayer will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets and contribute individually to the service of Sh870 billion debt owed to creditors over the 2018-2019 financial year alone, according to the budget estimates presented to the national assembly.