Boat operators in Lamu county will hike fares to reflect the impending rise in petrol costs.
During his budget reading in June, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced that petroleum products will attract a 16 per cent VAT starting on September 1.
The new directive means that a litre of petrol will cost an additional Sh17.
Speaking after a meeting in Lamu Town yesterday, Lamu Boat Operators Association chairperson Hassan Awadh said they had agreed to raise fares on September 1.
He said the new prices will be announced to all boarding passengers in the region and will also be posted on noticeboards around the town.
Awadh said boat operators and other stakeholders will meet once the VAT is effected to agree on the fares to be charged.
Lamu has more than 5,000 boat operators across various islands.
"If petrol prices are going up, we have no option but to raise fares. Otherwise, if we stick with the old prices, we shall be running at a loss," Awadh said.
He said they would increase fares by Sh20-50, depending on distance and type of boat. Speedboats charge higher prices as they cover long distances faster.
The speedboat fare from Lamu town to the mainland in Mokowe costs Sh150. Fare by slower motorboat is Sh100. Awadh said that with the new fares, the same destination will cost Sh200 in a speedboat and Sh150 in a motorboat.
He said even before the new tax is implemented, operators are already feeling the pinch as the petrol costs have already been increased from Sh100 to Sh130 a litre.