Kenyans oppose taxing of the poor

Africa - News and Analysis

The Star/allAfrica

On a side street in Nairobi’s bustling neighbourhood of Shauri Moyo, Faisal Ngila shouts to street vendors, motorbike taxi drivers and pedestrians. “Do you know taxes are increasing in Kenya?” he asks, handing out flyers urging Kenyans to say “no to Unga (maize flour) tax” by dialling a phone number that will register their signature on a petition.

Ngila is one of 17 activists involved in the campaign Kenyans for Tax Justice, speaking out against a new Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill, known popularly as the “Unga tax bill”. In trains, buses, football stadiums and community centres, the activists are trying to raise awareness and compile a petition against the bill.

The bill seeks to apply a 16 per cent value added tax rate on basic commodities that have remained untaxed until now. These include rice, bread, maize flour, processed milk and sanitary pads. When the bill was…

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