Boost electric vehicles
The growing dire impacts of climate change in Kenya, as elsewhere, which have taken a toll on agriculture, forestry and water sectors, leave no doubt that we must all play our part to protect the environment.
We find ourselves in a position where we need to do a lot more to rescue our environment from further pollution while taking measures to correct the damage already done.
The National Treasury's proposal to institute measures such as introducing carbon taxes and incentives to encourage investment in eco-friendly activities is, therefore, welcome.
If implemented, it will have a huge positive impact on our economy. However, it is important that the government focus on actions that will encourage more investments in environment-friendly actions as opposed to punishing polluters.
While carbon taxes play a role in prohibiting excessive pollution of the environment, a better move would be for the government to establish a framework that makes it easier and more cost-effective for businesses and individuals to access eco-friendly equipment.
One way would be by tax waivers on eco-friendly industrial machines, vehicles and equipment that are popular to make them more affordable and, hence, preferable to those who would otherwise use pollutants.
Encouraging more Kenyans to import electric vehicles or facilitate their local assembly, for instance, by waiving taxes and, hence, making them more affordable and popular will reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector. That is a better strategy than imposing taxes on using fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
It is important to note that the pollution tax will have an adverse impact on the prices of essential goods and services, such as transportation, as they increase the cost of doing business.
The government must place more emphasis on the need to rescue the country from further environmental damage but not take advantage of the situation to collect tax revenues.