Samburu residents say VAT will hurt them

Residents of Maralal town Samburu County have expressed their disappointment on the passing of the Financial Bill on Thursday that allowed an 8 per cent increase on value added tax (VAT).

In an interview with KNA, the residents said that the cost of living would increase since all consumable goods were sourced from the distant Nakuru and Nyahururu among other towns.

Lucas Lewarani, a boda boda operator in Maralal town, said that he has been forced to double his charges from Sh.50 to 100 per trip within Maralal town after the price of petrol increased to Sh.139.53 per litre from Sh.131.4.

Lewarani said that he was foreseeing days when his family would go hungry since his customers were opting to walk than to hire his services.

My employer expects Sh.400 at the end of the day after I have fueled his motorbike and made enough to pay myself. This is not possible with the current fuel prices in this town, he lamented.

Another resident, Eric Lesintiyo said that that the government’s decision to introduce the VAT on fuel was not Wanjiku friendly because it ought to have sensitized wananchi first on how to boost their income before implementing 8 per cent VAT tax on petroleum.

He said introduction of new tax in this financial year would increase financial and social problems to low income earners especially those in Jua Kali sector.

An introduction of the VAT on fuel will hurt small scale business enterprises in Jua Kali sector as the cost of materials would hike and in turn lead to high prices of goods that would be required by overtaxed customers, complained Eric Lesintiyo who works at a carpentry workshop in Maralal town.

Solomon Wanyeki, a resident of Maralal town said prostitution and infidelity among married women has been a common behaviour among low income earners in Maralal town, a vice he feared would be worsened by increased tax on basic commodities.

Due to high cost of living and low income, some women are forced to engage in extra marital affairs to get extra income to sustain their families, he said.

Some blamed the government for failing to safeguard billions of public funds that have been stolen by corrupt senior government officials in graft scandals.

Our country’s economy has been worsened by corruption scandals where some have walked away with public’s billions of shillings in their pockets and gotten away scot free, a resident of Loikas in Maralal town claimed.

The resident said that President Kenyatta ought to have adopted measures that would see government recover stolen public funds first before thinking of tax on fuel as doing so would see an increase in the price of basic commodities.

Source: Kenya News Agency