Doubling VAT on fuel will hurt profit margins, transporters say

Matatu operators at Kisumu bus stage wait for customers after the end of the year celebrations. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Transporters have expressed concern over the doubled value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum, noting it will have a huge impact on their cash flow.

Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) National Chairman Newton Wang'oo said yesterday the increase of VAT on petroleum from eight to 16 percent will eat into their profit margins and also impact consumers.

"The doubling of VAT from eight to 16 percent will have a huge impact on prices and on our cash flow. It is going to also affect the freight cost," he said.

At the same time, Mr Wang'oo said the sector has been slapped with a double advance tax on vehicles which has been increased from Sh1,500 to Sh3,000. The tax is charged on the transport industry.

KTA, which is based in Mombasa, represents truck owners in the country.

Car Importers Association of KenyaChairman Peter Otieno echoed sentiments by Wang'oo, noting that this year's budget has been painful to them.

Stakeholders in the land sector have welcomed the proposal to allocate Sh1.2 billion for title deeds processing and another Sh2.6 billion to settle the landless but cautioned that it should be spent responsibly.

Fuel prices dip marginally as VAT hike in budget looms large

Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) Coast representative Nagib Shamsan noted that land adjudication in 28 settlement schemes has stalled across the Coast region after public funds were squandered.

Shamson said nothing positive has come out of the National Land Commission (NLC) that seems to be headed for a tussle with the Ministry of Lands which seeks to take back the land valuation role.

"We need a task force to look into the stalled settlement schemes in Coast and how this money will be used to address historical injustices on land. We should be told who will be responsible for the funds now that NLC and the ministry have failed to complete work on stalled settlement schemes," he said.

He noted that the Waitiki farm in Likoni was hurriedly surveyed in 2016 and squatters who were allocated plots are waiting for beaconing amid disputes.

In Taita Taveta, residents yesterday expressed mixed reactions over the Finance Bill, which passed the second reading. Those opposed said Kenyans are headed for a bleak future.

Dominic Masese, a human rights activist, said following the passing of the Bill, Kenyans will be over-taxed and overburdened at this time when the country is facing skyrocketing food prices.

"When he was on his campaign trail, President William Ruto said he will lower the cost of living but today it is not the case," said Mr Masese.

Another human rights activist, Hassan Mwaniki, thanked three MPs in Taita Taveta County - Danson Mwashako, John Bwire, and Peter Shake - for voting No to the Bill.

Mr Mwaniki said the MPs allied to Azimio la Umoja who voted against the Bill have the interests of county residents and Kenyans.

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