When he took leadership on September 13, 2022, President William Ruto promised to implement different economic policies from those implemented by his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, to revive the Kenyan economy.
President Ruto promised to base his policies on efforts to “uplift” the lower class, that is “mahasla”.
Surprisingly, a year later, President Ruto has referred to some of the policies implemented by Mr Kenyatta.
Apart from that, some of his policies have been criticized by economists, saying that contrary to the promise to raise their incomes, they are oppressing them, a situation that has greatly affected the country’s economic growth.
One of his highly criticized policies is to increase the fuel tax.
According to Mr Tony Watima, who is an economist, the biggest mistake made by President Ruto’s government is to increase the tax levied on fuel, as this has contributed to the large increase in the prices of that product and other basic uses.
Currently, one liter of petrol is sold for Sh211, diesel Sh200, while one liter of kerosene is sold for Sh202.
“When you increase the price of kerosene, you always suffocate the Hursler team. It is the same as disrupting their lives. Basically, millions of Kenyans living in slums in urban areas depend on the daily laborers they get. Due to the high price of electricity and cooking gas, many have been forced to move to rural areas, as they cannot afford the high cost of living in cities,” said Mr Watima.
Another economic policy that is strongly criticized, is the government’s move to start charging the employed people with housing deductions.
The government started implementing the deductions in August after the High Court dismissed the case that had been filed against the implementation of the deductions.
Under the scheme, employed people have been deducting 1.5 percent of their salary as a housing deduction, while their employers have been deducting the same amount.
Analysts point to this trend as portraying the government of Kenya Kwanza as an “enemy” of employed people.
“The government should be aware that it is not always that the economy thrives due to money collected as taxes. These policies to increase taxes will hurt many workers and reduce their motivation at work. The effect of this is a decrease in the level of labor in the public and private sectors, thus decreasing economic growth,” says Mr Aly Khan, who is also an economist.
Economists also point to the addition of different types of taxes levied on large and small businesses, as a measure that has greatly affected economic growth.
Although President Ruto and his allies have been insisting that the economic situation in the country is improving, this seems to be against the position of Governor Anne Waiguru of Kirinyaga, who is now asking Kenyans to pray for President Ruto and his government due to the bad economic situation in the country.
“I urge Kenyans to pray for President Ruto and his government because he has not directly contributed to the decline of the economy, but the policies implemented by the previous administration. We ask you to be patient,” said Mrs. Waiguru, on Wednesday, October 11, when she spoke in Kirinyaga County.