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September 26, 2018

Uhuru tight-lipped on Bill to suspend VAT

President Uhuru Kenyatta signs into law the 2013 Micro-Finance, Tax Appeal Tribunal and Kenya Deposit Insurance Amendment Bills at State House, Nairobi Photo/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta signs into law the 2013 Micro-Finance, Tax Appeal Tribunal and Kenya Deposit Insurance Amendment Bills at State House, Nairobi Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday remained silent on the Finance Bill, 2018, meant to suspend 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products.

Yesterday National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi presented the Finance Bill to Uhuru.

The Bill was passed 14 days ago by MPs. “If the President does not assent to a bill or refer it back within seven days, the Bill shall be taken to have been assented to on the expiry of that period,” Article 115 ( 6 ) reads.

Experts warned the law will increase the prices of basic commodities as well as cause inflation.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich effected the tax on petroleum on September 1. This led to increase in fuel prices and bus fare. Rotich’s directive went against the Parliament’s decision on August 29 this year to suspend the implementation of the VAT until September 1, 2020.

The amendment to the Finance Bill, 2018, moved in the National Assembly by Suna East MP Junet Mohamed was meant to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of living.

Read: Uhuru 'quietly' returns, to receive brief on fuel tax outrage

In justifying the implementation of the levy, Rotich on August 31 said the imposition of VAT on petroleum products is primarily to improve tax collection.

Earlier on, Opposition leader Raila Odinga had assured the public the President would listen to the public outcry. “You should not panic at all. Very soon the President will scrap off the heavy levy on fuel products. He listens to public outcry,” Raila said.

Deputy President William Ruto had also assured citizens of the president’s commitment to safeguarding their interests. “The Executive will be meeting Parliament so as to address the concerns raised by Kenyans. As a matter of fact, a solution would be reached,” he said.

Yesterday Uhuru made changes at the Kenya Police Service. He addressed the National Policing Conference, where he unveiled new police uniforms, saying they will enhance visibility. “You will agree with me, security underpins any nation’s ability to achieve sustained social and economic development,” Uhuru said at the Kenya School of Government.

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

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