If the citizens benefit from tax, they’ll pay

President William Ruto during the 2022 Taxpayers' Day at the KICC

Trans Nation Sacco Society Limited receive the top MSES Taxpayer Northern Region award from President William Ruto during the 2022 Taxpayers' Day at the KICC on October 28, 2022.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto’s strategy to vehemently campaign for tax collection is a viable and brilliant idea.

Collecting taxes is a fundamental way for a country to generate public revenues that make it possible to finance investments in human capital, infrastructure and provision of better and improved services for the citizens and businesses.

Many developing countries are struggling to collect sufficient revenues to finance their own development. Those collecting less than 15 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in taxes must increase their revenue collection to meet the basic needs of the citizens and businesses.

To use an analogy, taxes are like a loan from the citizens to the government, whereby the repayment is in the form of development and better services for them. Financial institutions prefer lending to individuals whose creditworthiness is excellent and who have low default risk.

Most Kenyans feel the government has been defaulting on its ‘loan’, hence unworthy of more.

The government’s failure to meet the citizens' expectations has been orchestrated by corruption and the misapplication of funds by greedy officials.

What if the government offered free healthcare, free education, affordable housing, improved infrastructure and a conducive work or business environment?

Would any Kenyan complain, even if their income was taxed up to 70 per cent? This is what is lacking; Kenyans don’t get what they deserve after paying all the taxes.

No Kenyan would feel the pinch of paying taxes if the government utilised taxes efficiently and effectively for the benefit of Kenyans.

President Ruto has to prove to Kenyans that taxes will be utilised effectively so that they don’t feel the pitch of paying.

He has to crack down on corruption in the government and ensure tax money is effectively utilised in improving services for the citizens. On the contrary, Kenyans will always avoid and evade tax.

Mr Mutegi is an accountant. [email protected].