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December 12, 2018

Motorists to block roads in protest against VAT hike

The new price at Oilibya petrol station Westlasnds./ EZEKIEL AMINGÁ
The new price at Oilibya petrol station Westlasnds./ EZEKIEL AMINGÁ

Motorists Association of Kenya (MAK) are scheduled to hold a "pack and walk" protest on today (Wednesday) against the hike of fuel prices.

MAK chairman Peter Murima told the Star yesterday, that the protest is aimed at strongly resisting the new Value Added Tax on fuel prices.

" As Motorists Association of Kenya we have rejected the new VAT on fuel prices. We already feel that the prices are already high and by the government having another increase to it its just absurd," Murima said.

In June 2018,during the budget statement, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced that petroleum products will start attracting 16 per cent VAT come beginning of September 1, a move that will add about Sh17 on every litre of the commodity.

In Nairobi this will result to an increase in petrol from sh 112.1 to sh 130 per litre, an increment of about sh 17.9.

The protest will be expected to start at 7:20 am to 10: 30 a.m, where motorists will park their vehicles on the road and walk .

In Nairobi the demos are scheduled to take place along Thika Super Highway, Waiyaki Way, Mombasa road , Ngong Road and other major roads .

Driver of trucks, lorries, taxis will take part in the protest.

" We are not limited and calling upon supporters who are willing to join us in the demo," Murima said.

"Currently MAK is having talks with leaders from different associations in the Public transport sector regarding the demos since the sector is also highly affected by 16 per cent VAT," he added.

Murima further explained that the association has a problem with Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) whereby since the 2017 elections they have been increasing the price on fuel every month especially petrol. We want the monthly increment be done away with , we are greatly affected by it.

"The increase is only benefiting the manufacturers and the Government because of taxes but we (motorists) are the victims," said Murima.

According to MAK, they are scheduled to loose sh 278 million daily once the 16 per cent VAT comes to place next month.

However, Murima said failure by the Cs to reside its decision on the new VAT on fuel prices, the protest will be taking place every Wednesday morning until the VAT goes down.

About two weeks ago, Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge confirmed and said come September 1 petroleum products will begin attracting the tax in line with Kenya’s promise to the International Monetary Fund two years ago.

Last week Matatu Owner Association Simon Kimutai announced that fare in Nairobi are set to increase by between Sh10 to Sh30, depending on the route and distance travelled.

He said the increase of fare charged on passengers will take place immediately the government implements the 16 per cent tax levy on petroleum.

“The cost is endured by anyone who tends to seek a service, therefore the fare increment will be countrywide," Kimutai said.

Also the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) had urged the Government to suspend the introduction of 16 percent VAT on fuel stating that it will increase the cost of leaving, affecting mostly the low income consumers.

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