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Editorials

EDITORIAL: Treasury should obey court order on fuel VAT

fueling car
ERC last week released new fuel prices that reflect the 16 percent VAT. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Kenyans are still waiting to see whether the Treasury will obey last week’s High Court order suspending implementation of the 16 per cent value added tax (VAT) on fuel.

There was a collective sigh of relief among consumers after the Bungoma High Court shelved the tax on Thursday, but this was shortlived after the ministry failed to immediately obey the court order.

It is indeed insincere and against the law for the Treasury to delay implementation of the court order suspending the VAT on fuel.

The VAT increased a litre of super petrol to an average of Sh128.70 per litre with the Treasury taking Sh55.16 of the amount.

It is our view that the Treasury should have acted with the same enthusiasm and speed it did when it enforced the new law on September 1.

The new tax on petroleum products was rolled out despite a parliamentary vote the previous day that postponed the levy by two years.

With the Treasury and the Energy Regulatory Commission both insisting that they were awaiting the original court ruling suspending the tax, Kenyans will have to continue waiting under a cloud of uncertainty.

This confusion is totally avoidable and the government owes Kenyans an explanation on why it has allowed their suffering to continue.

The recent shortage of the commodity that was occasioned by a transporters strike should have been a wake-up call for our policy mandarins.

The subsequent queues by motorists at filling stations and fare hikes by public service vehicle operators only added to the heavy woes being shouldered by Kenyans.

Millers have also warned that they will increase maize and wheat flour prices if the situation persists.

We opine that the only credible way out of the current stalemate is for the Treasury to obey court orders. Failing to honour judicial orders only sends the wrong message to the common man and woman.

As we have stated before, the government should find better ways of raising revenue instead of constantly overtaxing its citizens who are already shouldering a heavy burden.

We also reiterate that a quick and long-lasting solution to the current impasse is needed urgently.

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