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Sermon Guides on Finance Bill 2024

Sermon Guides

For Messaging on Finance Bill 2024

Preamble

Unlike all past years, the Finance Bill 2024 has attracted massive public attention and discourse. Quite notably, the youth have taken keen interest and are driving the public resistance to the provisions in the Finance Bill 2024 that are imposing harsh taxation.

The church in Kenya has equally been actively engaged in demanding for changes to the offending sections of the Bill. However, this message has not been heard, and Kenyans across board feel that the church could do more and not be silent when injustice is being enacted by Parliament.

Having presented memoranda to Members of Parliament, it is now prudent that we take the message of peace and justice to the church platforms, primarily the pulpit. In this way, the NCCK and member churches will contribute to justice, peace, resilience and sustainability of the nation.

The following pages present themes for messages of hope to the nation.

NCCK welcomes you to use these sermon guides to share messages that promote peace, justice and dignified livelihoods and resilient communities. Make your voice heard on the  Finance Bill 2024.

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

GENERAL SECRETARY

Copyright @NCCK June 2024

You are free to use the contents of the publication for preaching, academic, media and advocacy purposes without reference to the publishers. For commercial purposes, you must request for written authorization from the publisher.

National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)

www.ncck.org

Twitter: @ncckkenya

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ncckKenya

MESSAGE 1:                        ENHANCE PRODUCTIVITY

Isaiah 35: 3 – 4 (a)

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come”

Proverbs 24: 27

Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

KEY MESSAGE:

The main purpose of government and social structures is to provide hope and opportunities for the people to build their lives and be productive. Every person born in Kenya yearns for and deserves an opportunity and environment to live a dignified life. The policy and legal framework needs to be one that promotes individual, family and community productivity.

Does the Finance Bill 2024 promote productivity?

  • Increase in taxes through Eco Levy which increases production costs
  • Increase of Excise Duties which makes goods more expensive
  • Increase of transport costs by taxing petroleum more
  • Taxation of creative arts and other hustles

For this reason, the church is asking Parliament to reject the current Finance Bill 2024 and task the Treasury to draft a new one that is focused on improving the welfare and livelihoods of the people of Kenya.

MESSAGE 2             BE FAIR IN TAXATION

1 Timothy 6: 10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Nehemiah 6: 3 – 4

Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards”.

KEY MESSAGE

The Bible has warned believers against love of money. The Lord Jesus in Luke 16: 13 said that one cannot serve, or be dedicated, to money and God. The temptation to love money affects not just people, but also societies and governments.

Is the government of Kenya manifesting an uncontrolled love of money when the Finance Bill is all about increasing taxes so that the government gets more money?

Since the policies of the government are set by people, the implication is that the officials in both the Executive and Legislative arms of government are affected by this condition of love of money.

How can the church and individual believers help the government officials to overcome this vice?

For this reason, the church is asking Parliament to reject the current Finance Bill 2024 and task the Treasury to draft a new one that is focused on improving the welfare and livelihoods of the people of Kenya.

MESSAGE 3             BE JUST WHEN MAKING LAWS AND POLICIES

Isaiah 10: 1 – 3

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?

Matthew 23: 23

Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

KEY MESSAGE

God expects every leader to practice justice, mercy and faithfulness. Are these manifested in the Finance Bill 2024?

  • Is there justice when the Bill proposes to deny Kenyans of their right to privacy yet it is guaranteed in the Constitution?
  • Is there justice when the Bill further entrenches the Affordable Housing Levy yet even the money collected so far is not building houses but being invested in Treasury Bonds?
  • Is there justice when transport of sugarcane is taxed?
  • Is there justice and mercy when Kenyans are punished with new taxes just because they own motor vehicles?
  • Is there mercy when the prices of basic commodities including bread, diapers, sanitary pads and packaging materials are raised due to increased taxation?

For this reason, the church is asking Parliament to reject the current Finance Bill 2024 and task the Treasury to draft a new one that is focused on improving the welfare and livelihoods of the people of Kenya.

MESSAGE 4             MAKE LIFE EASIER, NOT HARDER

Ezekiel 34: 18

Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

Matthew 23: 4

They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

KEY MESSAGE

The Finance Bill 2024 is seeking to increase the taxes charged on financial services as well as money transfers. This is a huge burden for people who are trying to balance the little  they have so that it is enough for their lives. Must it be made so difficult for them to receive money or make payments? Must banking services be so expensive?

Even the young people who are trying to find jobs online will be hindered due to higher cost of data.

The people would then have to carry the burden of having to use cash in most of their transactions, and to keep away from banks. This could lead to increase in crime.

For this reason, the church is asking Parliament to reject the current Finance Bill 2024 and task the Treasury to draft a new one that is focused on improving the welfare and livelihoods of the people of Kenya.

MESSAGE 5             LISTEN, ELSE YOU DESTROY THE NATION

1 Kings 12: 1 – 16

Rehoboam went to Shechem,for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned fromEgypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yokeon us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam consulted the elderswho had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer,they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejectedthe advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.  He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” The young men who had grown up with him replied, “Tell these people who have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter’ — tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’ ”

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourgedyou with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 

So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD,to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijahthe Shilonite.

When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: “What share x  do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, O Israel!Look after your own house, O David!”

So the Israelites went home.

KEY MESSAGE

We need to emphasize to the government, and moreso His Excellency the President, the need to listen to the people. The people are going through a difficult situation and they are expressing themselves. But are they being heard?

When Nehemiah was confronted with a similar situation, where the people were raising grievances regarding the harsh conditions of their lives, he listened. He then confronted the rich people and government officials (called nobles), and forced them to stop the wrong behaviors. This we read in Nehemiah Chapter 5.

Comparatively, Rehoboam received complaints from the people because of the heavy taxation King Solomon had put on them. But Rehoboam refused to listen, and the nation of Israel broke into two, and has had many civil wars. The division remains to this day, and will only be cured during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Refusing to listen to the people is very expensive and destroys nations.

Kenyans have been crying about heavy taxation, yet the Finance Bill 2024 is increasing, rather than reducing, the taxation.

How will the people of Kenya react if Parliament refuses to listen and enacts the high taxes?

The NCCK and wider church has over the last two months called on Parliament to reject the current Finance Bill 2024 and task the Treasury to draft a new one that is focused on improving the welfare and livelihoods of the people of Kenya. But is Parliament listening?

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