The Kenyan president, William Ruto, announced on Thursday that he would reform the country’s tax system to make it “fairer” by making the richest people pay more, in his first speech to parliament.
Mr Ruto, said he was “determined to ensure” that Kenya’s tax system “responds to the needs of the economy”, and to make it more progressive.
The new tax system “must be fair, efficient” and “the tax burden must reflect the ability to pay” of every taxpayer, said the head of state, a former chicken seller.
“We are taxing commerce too much and wealth too little,” Mr Ruto said.
The new head of state also promised to tackle the debt, which has increased sixfold since 2013 to about $70 billion.
“Our financial situation is not very good,” assured Mr Ruto, who served for nine years as vice president to his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya, an East African country of about 50 million people, is the region’s economic powerhouse, but a third of its population lives below the poverty line.
Inflation officially hit 8.5% in August, the highest in more than five years, as the Kenyan shilling currency fell against the dollar.
Fuel prices jumped in mid-September in the country after the government decided to drastically cut subsidies.