Episode 62: Tax Justice in Kenya

Episode 62: Tax Justice in Kenya

This week, we explore tax justice, which looks at the intersection between taxation, inequality and human rights. Why do we pay taxes? We have a social contract with the state. We give up some freedoms to it, and in return we receive security, healthcare, education, infrastructure and other services that enable us to become a functional and prosperous society. To invest in these social programs and in public property, which enables our goal, the government needs steady/sustainable financing from taxes. Taxes are also used to re-distribute money that is concentrated in the upper classes to the middle and lower classes. They help us run an effective government, which is why it matters how much money is collected, how it is collected, and how it is used.

Do taxes perform their functions in Kenya? What exactly is tax justice, and why is the conversation around it important in Kenya today? Is Kenya’s tax regime going to pull us out of poverty or keep us there? Why is it that Kenya can’t raise enough revenue from taxation? How can we go about stopping tax dodging to ensure we’re not robbing the poor? Should we have a tax strike? We’re joined by Joy Ndubai, a tax justice advocate, to answer all these questions. Press play!


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How Karuturi got away with denying Kenya millions of shillings in taxes

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Image Credit: WCCFTech

4 thoughts on “Episode 62: Tax Justice in Kenya

  1. Hi Brenda,

    Thanks for having Joy on the show. I’ll admit I am one of those people who hears the word taxes and my eyes glaze over, so I will definitely need to give this episode another listen to really digest everything. That said I thought you and your stellar guest Joy did a great job concretizing these often abstract ideas, with lots of relatable examples. When we got to the part about tax evasion, the first thing that came to mind was Nakumatt. A quick Google search to jog my memory shows that even as far back as 2006, Parliament had called out Nakumatt for using Charterhouse Bank to avoid paying taxes by reporting smaller profits and even losses, when they were moving more stock than Uchumi. The fact that as of June 2018, they still owed 1.5 Billion in taxes really boggles the mind.

    When I think of justice and equity, I don’t often think of taxes. Thanks for the great information and looking forward to reading some of the references for a deeper dive. 🙂

    1. Hey Noni! Thank you for listening, and I am happy you found the episode enlightening. 🙂 The Nakumatt case is also very relevant, and it is even closer to us because we have seen what their bad business practices have done to their staff, suppliers and even we as consumers. We really suffer when legal persons engage in aggressive tax practices. Do share the episode with your friends/networks, more of us need to think about justice and rights when we think about taxes. You are most welcome, and I hope you enjoy reading the references! 🙂

  2. Hi Brenda.
    I can’t believe I’m noticing this at episode 62! I’ve missed soo much. But hopefully will catch up.
    This is an excellent job you are doing. It is much appreciated.

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