NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1 – The previously hostile trade union bodies, COTU and the Trade Union Congress formerly known as PUSETU, came together during Friday’s Labour Day celebrations to call for tax relief.
The Congress’ General Secretary Wilson Sossion said Kenyan workers pay some of the highest taxes on the continent and called on the Jubilee government to zero rate allowances.
“There is need to review the tax regimes in this country and one of our strong recommendations is that the allowances that are due to workers through the payrolls should be zero rated,” he said.
He went on to argue the government could sufficiently address the revenue shortfall that would be caused by reduced taxes by netting tax evaders.
“There can never be sound economic growth when we are talking about tax evaders. This indeed should not be entertained in this country and we’re sure that if this is addressed then we are going to motivate the work force in this country,” he said.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli agreed with Sossion saying the country loses billions annually to tax evaders.
“The total tax evasion 2012/14 it goes to almost Sh8 trillion. That isn’t little money. The manufacturing industry alone in Kenya avoided paying taxes amounting to Sh105 billion,” he claimed. Capital FM News could not independently verify the accuracy of his claim.
Prior to the last Labour Day celebrations, the unions could not even agree on who would organise the national celebrations as they engaged in a supremacy battle that involved suspended Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi.
And Atwoli did not hide his disdain for the suspended Cabinet Secretary during Friday’s celebrations and urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to sack him.
“When I tell you that someone is stealing you should heed my advice. If you pull out a thorn and re-embed it into your flesh because it’s small, it’ll kill you. Don’t reinstate the Cabinet Secretaries you’ve suspended to allow for corruption investigations; sack them,” he urged.
Kambi is among five Cabinet Secretaries suspended to pave way for investigations after they were linked to corrupt activities at their ministries.