In June former Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury & Planning, Mr. Henry Rotich while presenting the budget for 2019-2020 financial year, said that the government had proposed that the youth registered under the Ajira Digital Program, should pay a registration fee of ten thousand Kenya shillings for the next three years in lieu of income tax. Effective 1st January 2020, the fee was to exempt registered members from regular taxation for the specified period.
Finance Bill 2019 assented into law by President Uhuru on 7th November 20, has confirmed the clause trapping millions of youth who have been signing up for the program. According to the Finance Act 2019, that saw the National Assembly made significant changes to the provisions of the Finance Bill, 2019 before it was passed into law, the first schedule of the income tax has been amended to include income tax for individuals registered under the Ajira Program.
Ajira Program was initiated by the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service, Youth, and Gender, to empower over a million young people to secure digital jobs easily.
“Income earned by an individual who is registered under the Ajira Digital Program for three years beginning 1st January 2020 is taxable but qualifies for exemptions upon payment of registration fee of ten thousand shillings per annum,” reads a section of the Finance Act.
The Act also provides that the Finance Cabinet Secretary in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary for the ministry responsible for information communication technology should come up with regulations for the better carrying out of this provision. While the government said that it will establish a fund from the fee to benefit the youth-oriented program, in the face of one man for himself God for us all, just what measures has it put in place to ensure the system is airtight?