Listen to industry views on the excise stamp fees


Times Tower in Nairobi, the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The government has outlined several reasons driving the current push to collect more taxes, among them the need to cut reliance on debt to fund the budget.

But it is good practice to listen to industry and the public that eventually carry the burden of additional taxes. The disqueit over the proposal to increase excise stamp tax by up to three times the current rates, for instance, calls for the Treasury to listen to manufacturers’ concerns.

Manufacturers argue that they were expecting the cost of the stamps to drop by more than half as SISCPA, the Swiss firm contracted to manufacture the stamps transferred the system to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The KRA was to only sign a system maintenance contract with SISCPA, with the price dropping by at least 50 percent.

The proposed changes risk driving up the prices of bottled water, juices, cosmetics, beer as well as spirits and most likely encourage counterfeiting.

The Treasury should strike a balance between collecting revenue and supporting businesses, considering the items that are going to be impacted are already being targeted for tax hikes.