11.5M Kenyans Don't Pay Taxes - Treasury PS Kiptoo Reveals Amid Concerns Over Ruto Strategy

National Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo.
National Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo.
The National Treasury & Economic Planning

Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo says that 11.5 million eligible Kenyans have not been paying taxes despite criticising President William Ruto's revenue strategy.

Speaking during the ongoing government retreat on Tuesday, February 20, Kiptoo disclosed that 20 million Kenyans had registered tax pins with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). However, only 8.5 million were paying taxes.

Further, he noted that there was a need for the government to expand its tax base as Ruto pushes to raise local revenue to fund government projects

Meanwhile, he refuted allegations that the government was overtaxing its citizens, calling on them to be more patriotic and support Ruto in turning around the economy. 

President William Ruto speaking during the Presidential Dialogue on Global Financial Institutions Reform in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 17, 2024.

"The KRA has 20 million registered pins and only 8.5 million that are active and even not all those 8.5 million are paying taxes. We need to talk about it.

"We seem to have lost the story about taxation. People are saying we are overtaxed, I do not think we are especially if you do a comparison with other countries. Kenyans do Harambee and they do not struggle, how come when it comes to taxes we struggle?  We need patriotism where everyone is paying taxes because it is good for us," he stated.

Kiptoo made the remarks amid growing concern over tax policies implemented by Ruto's administration since taking over office in September 2022.

In particular, Kenyans in the formal and informal sectors have expressed concerns about the rising cost of living attributed to increased taxation.

Some of the tax measures that were introduced by the government include the suspended 1.5 per cent housing levy and the 16 per cent VAT on fuel products among others.

Additionally, ministries also raised fees charged for various government services such as the application of IDs among others.

Notably, the strategies come at a time when the country failed to meet its revenue target for the year 2023.

"The National Government revenue collection including ministerial Appropriation in Aid (A-I-A) and Grants for the period between July-December, 2023 amounted to Ksh1.31 trillion (8.2 per cent of GDP) against a target of Ksh1.46 trillion.

"The revenue collection was below the target by Ksh142.7 billion mainly due to shortfall in taxes," read the second Quarterly Economic and Budgetary Review report in part.

National Treasury
The National Treasury building in Nairobi County.
National Treasury