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February 21, 2019

ODM MPs threaten mass protests over 16% VAT on fuel

A board displaying set of new fuel prices at a petrol station in Nairobi after a review by ERC on Saturday, September 1, 2018. /FILE
A board displaying set of new fuel prices at a petrol station in Nairobi after a review by ERC on Saturday, September 1, 2018. /FILE

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

MPs Antony Oluoch (Mathare), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), and Mark Nyamitta (Uriri) have given 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.

The lawmakers also threatened to sponsor a censure motion against the Treasury CS for ignoring Parliament decision and implementing the 'illegal' tax.

"The fact that we are in recess doesn't mean our hands are tied," Oluoch said during a Sunday service at Daniel Comboni Catholic Church in Mathare. 

"When you tax fuel, you are directly hurting the majority who live below the poverty line," Nyamitta said.

Amisi said any move to raise revenue through tax should exempt the poor.

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.

Consumers in Mandera will pay the highest for petrol at Sh141.61, diesel at Sh128.89 and Kerosene at Sh111.22, prices applying until September 14 at midnight. 

ERC Director General Pavel Oimeke said the recalculated pump prices will be revised if the amendments to the Finance Bill 2018 will be enacted.

More on this: ERC revises fuel prices to reflect 16% VAT

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo said: "Will the Speaker of the National Assembly call for a special sitting to discuss the defiance by CS Treasury on VAT on fuel? Kitaeleweka."

The price increase has sparked outrage as consumer rights lobby groups call for the sacking of the Treasury Cabinet Secretary.

Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) tweeted: "Let's be honest ... Just, how do you achieve #Big4Agenda with such headlines of everlasting pain?"

"Why would the Americans, British and the Chinese bring their money here. Please fire @HKRotich or forget the legacy talk. Kenyans cannot  stand this impunity."

Dennis Itumbi wrote: "That I agree is painful."

Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi  laughed off the plan saying: "...traffic jams will be history, bribes by police will reduce, accidents will decrease, matatus menace will be over, Kenya can repay Chinese loans."

 Another user Jamal Jamil said: "Kenya is a man eat man society. What will the lower and middle class citizens take to their table if the prices of commodities will be untouchable due to the high fuel prices. We should stand on the ground and oppose this 16% VAT on fuel products."

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

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