The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Mr. Raila Odinga says the current tax regime is not favorable to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) hence killing the morale of businessmen and women.
He says this is disadvantageous to the growth of the country’s economy adding that the punitive taxes imposed on businessmen has led to many businesses closing down hence the loss of employment to many.
Speaking in Kiambu County when he met businessmen and women from the Mt. Kenya region last Friday, Raila said local businesses are overtaxed forcing them to close down. He said the closure of local businesses has paved the way for Chinese businessmen to bring into the country goods at lower taxes.
The ODM leader said the only way the government can encourage local businesses to grow in the spirit of Buy Kenya, Build Kenya was by relaxing some of the regulations and demands by the taxpayer adding that this will motivate young entrepreneurs to do business locally.
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He called on the business community to shun tribalism and work towards building the country’s economy.
“Back in the day, we were at the same level with Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea, today, close to six decades, these countries are wining and dining with the big brothers. Kenya is still struggling to catch up because of corruption and other services” he said.
Businessman Mr. Polycarp Igathe who was the convener of the meeting said the time had come for Kenyans to embrace a business-oriented leadership saying that the past has not been helpful to the country’s businessmen and women.
“Next year going forward, we must mean business. For a long time, we have been talking politics and not business, it is time we changed for the better of our economy”, he said.
Mr.Igathe said if Kenyans chose to elect leaders who mean business and not just politics from morning to evening, Kenya will soar in prosperity, and the economy blossom.
“I invited Hon. Raila Odinga to this event because I have known him not only as a politician, but also a businessman, and I believe if he works closely with the business community, he can mean business” said Mr. Igathe.
Former Gatanga Member of Parliament Mr. Peter Kenneth said the country’s economy was on its knees because of the over-taxation of local businessmen/women.
He said, if some of these taxes were relaxed and a conducive environment made for businessmen, the economy will grow and many opportunities made for the young men and women.
The theme of the meeting that brought together one thousand businessmen and women was ‘We Mean Business’.
The meeting was attended by among others Senate Minority Leader Mr. James Orengo, Nominated MP Mr. Maina Kamanda, Businessmen Fred Rabong’o, George Wainaina among others.