Australian multinational Base Titanium Company is claiming Sh2.4 billion in value added tax (VAT) refunds from the government, an amount that has accrued since the mining company started its operations in Kenya.
Base Titanium’s acting general manager (external affairs), Simon Wall, said in a briefing yesterday that the company did not receive refunds in the previous quarter.
“Base Titanium has refund claims for VAT paid in Kenya relating to both construction of the Kwale project and the period since operations commenced, totalling approximately $240 million (Sh2.4 billion),” he said.
Mr Wall pointed out that the firm was engaging the Treasury and the Kenya revenue Authority (KRA) seeking to expedite the remainder of the refunds.
The firm says that even though the claims have not paralysed its operations, the situation is impacting negatively on its cash flow.
Releasing a report of the last quarter that ended on December 2018, Mr Wall said the company became net cash positive for the first time following a Sh240 million reduction in net debt to a net cash position of Sh100 million.
Base Titanium’s special prospecting licence expired in May 2018 and was re-granted as a new prospecting licence under the Mining Act 2016, with the area reduced by 50 per cent as required by law. The new licence is valid for three years with the option of extension.
The firm last year appointed Desterio Oyatsi, the managing partner at Shapely Barret & Company Advocates and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer, as chairman of the miner.
Other Kenyans on the Australian firm’s board are Joseph Kamuya Maitha, analyst Aly-Khan Satchu and investment banker John Ngumi.
Their appointments were seen as designed to boost the presence of Kenyans in Base's top leadership.