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September 18, 2018

School heads on the spot over bookselling business

Booksellers in the country are unhappy with the monopoly schools are working to create.
Booksellers in the country are unhappy with the monopoly schools are working to create.

The Kenya Association of Booksellers is accusing school principals of running their own unregistered bookshops, which they use, to trade amongst themselves contrary with the law. Speaking during this year’s Association’s annual general meeting held in Machakos the Association’s chairman Arthur Kamau said that the practice has denied them business.

He said that the Principals give directions that all form one students being admitted buy books from the school, which is against the guidelines.

“Schools are not-profit making institutions and we wonder why a principal should make it compulsory for parents to buy their children books from the school yet books are sold on profit! Where does this profit go?” He asked.

Kamau said that the practice was also denying the government revenue since the ‘briefcase’ bookshops by the principals do not remit any tax returns.

“I will tell you for sure that out of Sh10billion of free education for example, the tax it gets out of it is hardly 15 per cent because the people who are selling are not registered tax payers,” said Kamau.

He said that the registered booksellers who pay taxes to the government hardly get tenders in schools. This is because the principals also do not bother to verify whether the suppliers are registered taxpayers or not.

Kamau also lamented on the issuance of tenders in schools. He said most head teachers were selling request for quotations, which should not be done.

“We have an issue of splitting tenders. For example a school is giving a tender for exercise books, textbooks, ruled papers and officer stationery each sold at Sh1,000 but at the end of the day the tender is issued to one person to supply all of them” he said.

Deputy director in the Ministry of Basic Education Sarah Kinyanjui who attended the Association’s annual general meeting assured the booksellers that the matter would be dealt with.

She however encouraged them to report the rogue principals to the ministry so that disciplinary measures can be taken against them.

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