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We can’t pay staff tax due to Covid-19, ACK bishop tells KRA

3 min read

An Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) bishop has warned the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) against expecting any Pay As You Earn (PAYE) revenue from faith-based organisations since their employees have been forced to go on unpaid leave.

Bondo ACK Diocese Bishop David Kodia on Monday said although the church appreciates the gesture by the government to lower PAYE tax rates from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, the move, given the numerous challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, was a “practical mockery”.

“Most of our people are out of jobs. As a church, we depend on our congregations for every single cent, including the money we remit to KRA. Let it be known that our clergy are at home observing the stay at home policy,” he said.

NO MEETINGS

“Our Christians no longer meet even at the cell groups’ level. There’s a total breakdown of connectivity between Christians and their clergy,” he stated.

He said that as a result, there no cash flowing from the Christians to the churches coffers.

“KRA should know that it will not get no single cent from most churches in form of PAYE for as long as the situation remain as it is,” he said.

Prof Kodia noted that such challenges are the reason the church has been calling for national reasoning to ventilate emerging concerns from Kenyans. The diocese with 60 employees remits to the taxman Sh200,000 every month as PAYE according to Bishop Kodia.

CONTROLLING VIRUS SPREAD

“I wish to take this opportunity to applaud the government’s efforts in controlling the spread of Covid-19. The measures so far taken have by and large reduced the level of exposure to a noticeable level and this is commendable,” he said.

He also lauded Kenyans and private corporations who have contributed towards the Covid-19 kitty.

“Together we can make a meaningful change in our attitude as well as approach to the disease,” he stated.

But he said that his attention has been drawn to emerging cases of mistrust, fear and confusion regarding the actual state of affairs nationally and at the county level.

USE CHURCHES

He stated that it is time that the government used churches effectively as channels of information sharing among the people.

“The legalistic approach we have taken as a nation may not help much apart from instilling fear and discontent. People are undergoing traumatic experiences for which they require the services of trained counsellors and pastoral care. We are undergoing a major cultural revolution which if handled poorly it might lead to a mental revolution that will be difficult to manage,” he said.

The bishop noted that the church will continue to push the government to appreciate the pastoral, spiritual and emotional services that people need at the moment.

TREATMENT CHARGES

He further suggested that no Kenyan should be charged for treatment for Covid-19. He said the government must take full responsibility for those who are quarantined in public facilities.

“There should be no more debate about this. Even the people who are sent to prisons are taken care of by the government that pays for their expenses,” he said.

“The money so far raised locally or otherwise must be transparently used to manage the disease without the victims being asked for even a single penny. This is the much the government can do for her people,” he said.

QUARANTINE

On forced quarantine, the bishop said there is need for clarity regarding the practicality, legality and morality surrounding the measure.

“We have heard of cases of people under quarantine complaining of pathetic hygienic conditions they are subjected to,” he said.

The bishop said the issue must be addressed immediately, and if possible, such facilities must be inspected and qualified for the purpose.

“People who are quarantined are not criminals or prisoners who are not entitled to certain privileges or comfort. Any facility approved must conform to the basic standards for human living,” he noted.

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