KENYA: Religious Leaders Suggest Steps towards Economic Recovery

NAIROBI, SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 (CISA)-Religious Leaders in the Country have called for an independent forensic audit of the national debt and the scrapping of the 16 percent of value added tax on petroleum products as steps towards economic recovery.

“If Parliament does not commence this process within 6 months or if the exercise is not undertaken fully and satisfactorily, the Dialogue Reference Group will set up a People’s National Debt Audit Task Force to undertake the assignment,” reads a statement signed on September 12 by representatives of Religious Groups in Kenya and released on September 13.

The statement was signed by Bishop Peter Njao for Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Sujatha Kotamraju for Hindu Council of Kenya, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde for Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Yimothy Ndambuki for National Council of Churches of Kenya, Al-Hajj Yussuf Murigu for National Muslim Leaders Forum, Rev. Fr Joseph Mutie for Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Rev Paul Chepkwony for Seventh day Adventist Church, Abdalla Nafula for Shia Ithnashari Muslim Association and Ambassodor Dr Yusuf Nzibo of Supreme Council for Kenya Muslims.

They instructed the government to stop borrowing for infrastructure projects and particularly called for the suspension of the proposed expansion of the Nairobi-Mombasa highway because of the already present of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) along the same route.

“Focus should be put on increasing the usage of the SGR to make it worth the colossal investment made to build it. Further, the Naivasha to Malaba extension of the SGR should be suspended since the country is broke and cannot even feed its own people. Kenya must avoid recolonisation through debt as has been witnessed in other countries,” reads the statement.

In their statement, they lamented that “such administrations of government have systematically impoverished Kenyans, causing their lives to be on a downward spiral to misery and suffering.”

On taxation, the religious leaders recommended that the government should instead focus on reduction of wastage and the wage bill rather than trying to raise more funds through taxation.