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Relief for Kenyans after High Court's order on Finance Bill 2023

The order throws into limbo President Ruto's plan to raise billions of shillings through far-reaching tax proposals to fund his maiden budget.

A photo of a judge striking gavel in a courtroom

The High Court in Kenya has issued interim orders suspending the implementation of the Finance Bill 2023, which was scheduled to take effect on July 1.

This decision comes as a result of a case filed by Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah, who has challenged the constitutionality of several sections within the bill, arguing that they contravene the Constitution in matters of taxation.

President William Ruto signed the Finance Act 2023 into law earlier this week.

However, Senator Omtatah's case raised concerns about 30 sections within the bill that allegedly violate the constitutional provisions on taxation matters.

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The lawsuit named key individuals involved in the implementation of the bill, including National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung'u, Attorney General Justin Muturi, and Rispah Simiyu, the acting commissioner-general of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Justice Mugure Thande, presiding over the case, granted interim orders that will remain in effect until Wednesday, July 5, when the matter is scheduled for mention in court.

This ruling has put President Ruto's ambitious budget plan, which heavily relied on far-reaching tax proposals on halt.

The Finance Act 2023 encompasses a series of tax measures aimed at generating revenue to support the government's extensive development agenda. One of the notable provisions in the bill is the introduction of a 16% Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel, which was expected to contribute substantially to the revenue generation efforts.

Additionally, the act includes a 1.5% housing levy intended to fund housing projects and address the housing challenges faced by Kenyans.

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