National Treasury may reconsider the 16% VAT on fuel after public fury
Today I woke up at 6:00 am to go out and do some roadwork. This is the first time I went after several months of inactivity. I feel that this is important considering that we sometimes get drowned in plenty of work and no time for physical exercises hence the sedentary lifestyle. This is a toxic lifestyle which we should all abandon without any second thought.
Instead of a warmup, I just briskly walked down the back street for about 3 kilometers. There was a lot of action already going on. Many kids were either walking to School accompanied by their parents or just waiting for their yellow-painted School buses to pick them up.
At one of the junctions I crossed, there were a group of women with water jerricans fetching water from two Points of illegal water connection. This was happening at the middle of road which created a traffic snarl up on a road which is ordinarily never congested with traffic. Illegal water connections are you responsible for the % of non-revenue water in Kenya. It’s a pity that a large proportion of the water pumped from our dams never reach the taps at our homes, offices or business premises.
Since there are no safe pedestrian walks on most Kenyan roads, I wear a reflector jacket to Ensure that the motorists can see me as I jog in the morning. I hope now that we are paying more Taxes including a brand new 16% VAT levy on fuel, the president and his men will see to it and put in place safe Non-Motorized Transport for joggers, cyclists and pedestrians. It is better we collide among ourselves than when vehicles collide into us. If you like jogging for fitness, consider investing in proper gear including a reflector for your supreme safety.
Naivasha Road has so many runners in the morning. I think joggers like it because it has a steep hill which beats the hell out of them. It drains all the laziness out of our bodies.
I ran up the hill like a mad wolf though in intervals. I’ve learnt to run against the on coming traffic so that I can see any vehicle which is may be straying from its lane.
On my return leg, I cruised down the steep slope like a safari rally car on its home stretch. I have always liked running down hill than up hill because of obvious reasons.
A stop at the Newspaper stand
Since I am following up on some issues on the 16% Value Added Tax or VAT, I stopped by the roadside at a newspaper stand to get a gist of the matter. Any new developments were welcome. My research revealed that this alien tax was supposed to come into effect in 2016 but it was postponed to allow us breath a little bit.
The Kenya National Assembly decided to postpone the tax once more for an additional two years albeit too late to do it well. After the suspension of the taxes, the MPs proceeds home for a recess.
As they were heading home, the CS for national treasury announced that the MPs’ action was inconsequential. This was a shock on most of us because we thought Parliament is the one which enacted laws including Tax laws. If we look at it from that angle, then we can say the CS violated the law. Is he above the law? Just asking for a friend.
As we speak, the tax is intact and the living standards have shot to the roof. Yesterday, I highlighted some of the sections of our economy which will be hit hardest.
The Standard Newspaper indicated that numerous reports have show that CS H. Rotich may reverse these new taxes following the public outrage.
Yesterday media reports indicated that the ‘supreme protector of the public’ Mr. Okiya Omutata, and Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU) moved to Court seeking to stop the implementation of the 16% VAT on fuel.
Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer, Dr. James Mwangi has a dissenting opinion. He is defending the national treasury’s position by saying that if we need to develop as a country, we must allow the taxes to come into effect. He says that for us to develop, we must make some sacrifices. Was he the architect of this oppressive tax? He must be knowing more than is available in the public arena.
My stand on this matter is that we do not have to milk our taxpayers dry in the name of development. Currently, there is a lot of apathy considering that our taxpayers’ resources are not being used prudently. There any many open sewers that we see around the city. Today, I witnessed a huge fountain of sewer oozing out of a manhole along Naivasha Road before the bridge. Large volumes of raw sewerage was escaping into the drainage and finally into the nearby river. This is the cause of pollution for the city rivers. Will we ever have clean rivers in our African cities or is it the same in developed world? At one time, the late John Michuki, the then Minister for Environment, once promised that he would clean Nairobi river and be the first one to dive into it to enjoy swimming. That never happened. When shall it happen? Will we get a brave soul to attempt this feat?
After the morning jog, I breakfasted hurriedly and took a cold shower for the first time in numerous months. This is good for my household economy because I will not suck the available units of electricity on my prepaid electricity meter. Tokens are very expensive nowadays. I remember with nostalgia those times when I had fewer household gadgets. A Sonitec radio, an ironing box and my phone. At that time, I would spend just KES 200 on electricity tokens or even less. Nowadays I feel like I am being exploited by the monopolist power provider. I look forward to that day when we will have many players supplying electricity to our homes. I am convinced that this will happen during my lifetime. Competitive Market will lead to better services, anyone who exploits us will be pushed out of the market. That is our dream.