The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is seeking to have direct access to M-Pesa transactions.
The tax man said the move is aimed at catching tax cheats and raising an additional KSh 375 billion for the financial year starting July.
Under the new plan, Safaricom which has over 55 million active users will seek to help the State identify individuals and firms whose tax payments are not in tandem with the cash moving through their mobile phones.
However, in a statement on Friday, January 20, Central Organization for Trade Union (COTU) boss Francis Atwoli the move was ill-advised adding that the majority of Kenyans are currently grappling with unemployment.
“The move by GoK to have access to and or investigate MPESA transactions is ill-advised and counterproductive. Instead, GoK should ensure that outsourcing companies regularize the employment terms and conditions and that they pay all the statutory deductions including PAYE and NSSF,”
“With only 2.5 percent of salaried Kenyans, then, earning above 100,000 and a majority of about 80.5 percent earning below KSh 50,000, it was insensitive for the Kenyan government to introduce punitive tax measures at a time when many workers had lost employment as a result of the pandemic,” Atwoli said.
The vocal trade unionist said while the move aims at widening the tax base, the move will ultimately make Kenyans shun using mobile money platforms and as a result, destroy a great innovation that has since helped ease the movement of money, especially from urban to rural areas.
“Very soon, Kenyans will start avoiding the use of mobile money platforms and maybe start using other platforms to send money like courier and parcel services,” he added.
Kivumbi.co.ke understands that in 2016, Safaricom rejected the taxman’s quest to snoop on mobile money transactions.