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Bottlers Blame Government’s Hiked Taxes On Water For High Diarrhoeal Deaths

Bottled water
The price of bottled water is set to go up [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Diarrhoeal diseases are the leading cause of death in Kenya with over 37,600 deaths every year, a new report compiled by The Standard has shown.

Globally, Diarrhoeal diseases kill around 525,000 children under the age of five, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus, or sometimes, contaminated food or water. In most cases in Kenya, it is caused by contaminated water.

According to the Water Bottlers Association of Kenya (WBAK), many Kenyans are not able to access clean drinking water due to over-taxation, which has made the commodity expensive for the low-income earners.

“Slapping bottled water with Excise duty and pushing the same tax to purified drinking is absurd. Adding excise at Ksh5.74 per litre to a 1 or two shilling product is killing our own,” said WBAK on Twitter.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in 2019 introduced the Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS), which saw goods such as bottled water, soda, processed juices and cosmetics attract excise duty.

Read: Why Selling Bottled Water Without KRA Stamp Could Land You In Trouble

EGMS saw the excise go up to Ksh5 per litre as well as the Value-added Tax (VAT) and the cost of the stamp duty.

Cumulatively, the increase saw the prices of the affected commodities go up by approximately Ksh10.

“We are trying our best on our side but the industry is really going down at a faster pace,” WBAK chairperson Henry Kabogo told Kahawa Tungu.

The report by The Standard identified cancer as the second leading cause of deaths in Kenya with close to 33,000 victims every year, followed by Tuberculosis at 32,000.

HIV and Pneumonia closed the list of top five killers at 20,000 and 19,000 respectively.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email

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