Poll: Majority of Kenyans opposed to Finance Bill 2024

Eight out of 10 Kenyans are opposed to the introduction of new taxes on bread, cooking oil, financial services, motor vehicles and a new levy on environmentally unfriendly products, a new opinion poll has shown.

Additionally, 63 percent of Kenyans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction citing the skyrocketing cost of living (45 percent) and unemployment that has left many families unable to meet their daily needs.

According to the opinion poll conducted by Infotrak Research firm between May 25 and May 29 2024, 77 per cent of Kenyans said the Finance Bill 2024 will not have a positive impact on the economy with a paltry 13 per cent of those interviewed arguing that it will have a positive impact.

An overwhelming 87 per cent of Kenyans are opposed to the introduction of a 16 per cent VAT on bread while 86 per cent are opposed to the introduction of VAT services on financial transactions such as M-PESA.

Other taxes in the Finance Bill that Kenyans rejected include the introduction tax of 2.5 per cent of the value of the motor vehicle (81 per cent), an additional levy on unfriendly products (83 per cent) and a proposal to exempt the disclosure of personal data by data controllers to the taxman (83 per cent).

Mr Johvine Wanyingo, Infotrak Research Manager on Thursday said that out of the 1,700 respondents interviewed, only 54 per cent of them were aware of the existence of the Finance Bill 2024 with 46 per cent of them indicating they were not aware of the bill.

The Central Region leads at 62 per cent while Eastern at 41 per cent was the lowest in terms of awareness.

“There is more that still needs to be done to ensure that Kenyans are aware of the Finance Bill. We have also seen that it is during President William Ruto administration that the number of Kenyans aware about the impact of the bill has increased particularly about the impact it has on their lives and the economy,” Mr Wanyingo said.

Mr Wanyingo also said that a comparison to previous opinion polls conducted in 2023 reveals that high taxes imposed by the government and skyrocketing cost of living have been cited by respondents as a reason for the country’s wrong trajectory.

“Over the past year, Kenyans have consistently expressed growing dissatisfaction with the respondents who believed the country was heading in the wrong direction standing at 62 per cent and 53 per cent respectively. In comparison with the polls we did on August/September 2023 and February 2023, the notable issues leading to the negative response are the high cost of living (89 per cent) for August/September polls and high taxes,” he added.

In terms of regions that believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, Nairobi accounted for 74 per cent, followed by Eastern 69 per cent and Nyanza 68 per cent. Only 19 per cent of Kenyans believe the country is headed in the right direction with Rift Valley and North Eastern leading at 23 per cent and 20 per cent.

On gender, 32 per cent of male adults identified unemployment as a key concern, while the female gender at (29 per cent) also indicated unemployment as a significant issue.

The research used quantitative interviews with 1,700 respondents spread across all 47 counties and eight regions in the country with a 95 per cent degree of confidence.



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