Raila Odinga promises permanent tax exemptions for people with disabilities

Raila Odinga

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential aspirant Raila Odinga. Two petitioner want the outfit disbanded claiming the coalition agreement establishing it is null and void.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential hopeful Raila Odinga has pledged to push for permanent tax and pay as you earn (PAYE) exemptions for all people living with disabilities (PWDs) should he form the next government.

Addressing the group at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, the ODM party leader said he will push for the review of the PWD Act, 2003, to increase employment of PWDs in public institutions from the current 5 per cent to 10 per cent. He will also see into it that his government offers free education to those in the group in public schools, colleges and universities

“President Raila Odinga will push for permanent tax and PAYE exemptions for PWDs instead of the current exemption which is done after every three years,” said Mr Odinga. He pointed out that of the 900,000 registered PWDs, only 47,000 receive support from the state in terms of cash transfers. Consequently, he said, he will enhance the disability fund to give PWDs effective social protection by making sure those able to do business are enabled to do so while those unable are provided with a safety net.

Further, his government will increase access to government procurement opportunities and amend the PWD Act to give them the opportunity to enjoy economic rights as enshrined in the constitution. This is in addition to strengthening all institutions offering support to PWDs.

“I will also zero-rate assistive devices used by PWDs to enhance and support their mobility, sight, hearing, recreation and full enjoyment of life,” he said.

The Azimio chief said that reports have indicated that the exclusion of the group from national plans comes with a huge cost to a country, with the International Labour Organisation saying this can be as much as 7 per cent of GDP.

“We will work together with them because there is a big potential and each Kenyan will be given an opportunity to make a contribution to the development of our country,” he said.

Mr Odinga explained that the biggest challenge that PWDs face is stigma and discrimination. To cure this, he said he will invest in public awareness and instigate reforms to ensure protection against discrimination.

“I will want to give this country a comprehensive lifelong plan for PWDs to provide the basis to improve health, rehabilitation and creation of equal opportunities for social protection for them,” said Mr Odinga. He added that his government will develop a master plan for intellectual disabilities like autism to reduce parental pressure and promote targeted social interventions aimed at promoting self-reliance.


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