Concerns over fuel VAT charges persist as leaders call for fresh reviews

Treasury CS Henry Rotich insisted the move had to be implemented despite parliament's effort to have the VAT increment suspended
Treasury CS Henry Rotich insisted the move had to be implemented despite parliament's effort to have the VAT increment suspended

The Kenya Revenue Authority’s decision to put into effect the increased added tax charges on petroleum products has caused jittery complaints all over the country, with the cost of living raised a notch higher. KRA informed Kenyans on Saturday that Value Added Tax will be charged on all petroleum products at a rate of 16 percent on all transactions, with the directive being effected from 1st September.

Several leaders have addressed Kenyans’ grievances, with calls for a better review for revenue collection to be implemented. Speaking in Marsabit, Deputy President William Ruto acknowledged the need to review more options,

as the government, we’ll sit down with parliament so that we can agree with each other to review other ways of revenue collection to push the development of the nation but also to ensure vulnerable Kenyans aren’t economically pressed,” he said. He continued that this will ensure there is a balance between looking for resources and ensuring Kenyans aren’t affected.

On his part, Raila Odinga has urged Kenyans to desist from panicking, expressing his confidence that President Kenyatta will address the issue. While speaking in Kisumu during the National Government Affirmative Action Fund football tournament, he said the President listens to the public, “Very soon, the President will scrap off the heavy levy on fuel products. He listens to public outcry.

Members of parliament had made an amendment t the Finance Bill to block the increased VAT increment and suspend it for a further two years, but the Treasury CS Henry Rotich insisted that the directive had to be implemented. Majority leader Aden Duale has said the bulk of the decisive decision remains with the President, “The President still has a number of options one is to sign into law for the suspension to take effect until 2020,” he said, adding that once signed, it will be gazetted and will become an act of parliament and the VAT charge will be suspended.

However, he said the President can still disagree with the parliament by invoking article 115 of the constitution on presidential assent and referrals. Some MPs have threatened countrywide protests if the new fuel tax isn’t rescinded and have also said they may present a censure motion against CS Henry Rotich.