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February 20, 2019

Kenyans' fate on fuel VAT in Uhuru's hands, says Duale

"President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to assent to the proposed amendment."
"President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to assent to the proposed amendment."

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale has told Kenyans that they have no choice but to pay for the 16% VAT on fuel that took effect on Saturday.

Speaking in Nairobi, Duale said the implementation of the tax regime was long overdue as it was imposed in 2013.

This was when parliament passed the VAT Act that introduced taxation of petroleum products such as diesel and petrol.

On Saturday, the Energy Regulatory Commission revised fuel prices to reflect the 16 per cent VAT as directed by Rotich.

A litre of petrol in Nairobi now retails at Sh127.80; diesel at Sh115.08 while kerosene will sell at Sh97.41 per litre.

This represents an increase of Sh14.07 on super petrol, Sh12.34 on diesel and Sh12.46 on kerosene.

Also read: Hard times ahead as Rotich effects 16% VAT on fuel

Duale, in an interview with NTV, said a three-year grace period shelving the new prices was given after the VAT on petroleum was introduced. 

"There was a reprieve by the National Treasury in 2016 when it further suspended it for two more years," Duale said. 

He said the Finance Bill, 2018 that Parliament voted for on Friday was to extend implementation of the 2013 legislation to 2020.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to assent to the proposed amendment.

The Garissa Township MP said that for the suspension to take effect, the National Assembly's JLAC has three weeks to prepare a vellum for onward transmission to the Attorney General and subsequently to the president for assent.

"As we prepare this vellum, this law can only be reversed when the president assents to the Finance Bill, 2018," Duale said.

He said that the President, who is in China, is the one to determine whether to assent the Finance Bill or invoke his constitutional rights and reject the MPs' proposal.

Duale said that under the prevailing circumstances, the fate of the Kenyans now lies in the President's hands and will have to pay for fuel as is after the tax adjustment. 

"He might sign into law the suspension that pushes the tax measures to 2020. Once done and gazetted, the same will overrule the existing legislation."

"The President might also disagree with Parliament by invoking the Constitution on the basis that government needs the fuel tax money for Big 4 agenda," Duale added.

He accused the MPs, who are on recess until October, of proposing legislative matters in funerals and churches instead of bringing the same to Parliament.

"We urge members to bring the proposals to suspend the VAT implementation. But for now, Kenyans should make informed decision and pay for the taxes."

He spoke at a time a section of ODM MPs have warned that Kenyans could soon go back to streets over the implementation of 16 per cent tax on petroleum products.

MPs Antony Oluoch (Mathare), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), and Mark Nyamitta (Uriri) gave Treasury CS Henry Rotich 72 hours to shelve the tax.

They said that if the CS fails to do so, they rally Kenyans to a countrywide peaceful demonstrations.

More on this: ODM MPs threaten mass protests over 16% VAT on fuel

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