Kenya’s Finance Act 2023 Placing “unsustainable burden” on Kenyans: Catholic Bishops

A section of members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit: KCCB/Catholic Justice and Peace Department Facebook

Kenya’s Finance Act of 2023 that received Presidential assent last month has placed “unsustainable burden” on citizens of the East African nation, Catholic Bishops in the country have said.

In their Wednesday, July 19 collective statement, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) call upon President William Samoei Ruto to repeal the Finance Act to which the Kenyan head of state gave his assent on June 26. 

“The recently enacted Finance Act places an unsustainable burden on already distressed citizens, especially those within the low-income bracket,” KCCB members say, and add, “We ask the President to repeal the Finance Act and institute a process that will seek to achieve the same goals within the current economic context.”

The rising cost of living in Kenya has been attributed to the Finance Act, which the country’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has implemented by adding 8% to the cost of fuel despite the an order of the High Court suspending it

On June 30, High Court Judge Mugure Thande temporarily suspended the implementation of the Finance Act. On July 10, after dismissing government application to lift the freeze, Lady Justice Thande extended court orders that barred Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary from implementing the Finance Act 2023.


In their July 19 collective statement, KCCB members say, “The high cost of living has created a burden on individuals and families, making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs and maintain a decent standard of living.”

“We realize that many are struggling to afford essential goods and services, to secure stable employment, or are facing financial hardships that affect education and healthcare access,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya lament, adding that the challenging economic situation is resulting in “grave agitation and anger”.

Members of the Kenya Christians Professional Forum (KCPF) have also called on the government to revisit some of its policies saying they “have only exacerbated an already worse situation.” 

“The Finance Act, of 2023 is one such culmination of policy turned law that has Kenyans struggling to breath. We cannot tax ourselves to prosperity,” KCPF members said in their July 16 statement.

They added, “There are immediate practical solutions that can ease the pain of citizens in this period as we look to our institutions to midwife us out of this phase. The taxes on fuel have aggravated the situation and further hiked the cost of living.”

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Kenya’s Christian Professionals called on the CS for Energy and Petroleum to comply with the High Court Order in line with the country’s “Constitution and Human Rights Division Petition No. 118 of 2023, and suspend all taxes that arose from the Finance Act, 2023.”

Earlier, on July 13, Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga, the Azimio One Kenya Coalition leader, announced three-day anti-government protests that kicked off on July 19, aimed at pushing the President Ruto-led government to lower the rising cost of living.

The latest round of opposition-led anti-government protests that have resulted in the death of at least 24 Kenyans are a continuation of previous demonstrations that also resulted in multiple deaths, and destruction of property.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.