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Water Bottlers Hit Back At The Gov’t Over Inflation Tax

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

Water bottlers have hit back at the government over inflation tax, which will see the price of bottled water rise as from October 1.

According to the adjustments by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the duty on bottled water will rise from Ksh3.31 to Ksh3.47 per litre.

Also, under the Finance Act 2021 there will be an Excise tax of 10 percent on articles of plastic, consequently increasing the price of bottles by a margin of 12 percent.

According to the Water Bottlers Association of Kenya chairman Henry Kabogo, the consumer should expect a final increase on bottled water price at between 15-18 percent.

“It still puzzles us that we have Excise duty on 5.74 per litre. Sadly this is being inflated to over six percent starting July. Based on the principle of human dignity in the Universal Declaration, Water is not a nice thing, it is a right as is justly anchored in the fundamental rights Article 43(d) of the Kenyan constitution and as per UN SDG goals No. 6. ( Ensure access to water and sanitation),” says Kabogo.

“If this tax was applied to any other item or was even transferred to the packaging, nobody would find any justifiable right to complain, but drinking water served in a bottle?”

Read: Prices Of 31 Goods To Increase Over Inflation Tax

Kabogo suggests that the government should be focused on bridging the gap of providing clean and safe drinking water to communities that have no water, instead of overtaxing the commodity.

“There are areas with very high fluoride content that makes the water unsafe for consumption. The easiest and most convenient way to bridge access is through bottling and distribution. Even the freshwater source have been grossly polluted. We are headed somewhere but in a completely wrong direction. The only remedy that shall give our leadership peace of mind is to allow the people at least enjoy this fundamental right,” he adds.

Following the introduction of inflation tax, the prices of at least 31 goods among them beer, fuel, bottled water and juice, will increase by at least 4.97 percent.

Read: Kenyans Snitch On 359 Companies, Individuals Over Ksh2 Billion Tax Evasion

For instance, for every litre of beer, Kenyans will pay Ksh5.77 more and Ksh13.20 more for a litre of spirits.

The cost of fuel is also set to shoot by Ksh1.09 for litre of petrol, pushing excise duty to Ksh23.04, while diesel and kerosene will increase by Ksh0.566 per litre each.

The price of one stick of cigarette will increase by Ksh0.16 pushing the excisable duty to Ksh3.47.

The excise tax on motorcycles (motorcycle ambulances and locally assembled bikes are exempted) will go up from Ksh11,608 to Ksh12,185.

“The Commissioner-General adjusts for inflation the specific rates of duty set out in the Schedule hereto in accordance with the formula specified in Part 1 of the First Schedule to the Act with effect from October 1, 2021,” the KRA said in a notice on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

The rise in fuel prices is going to automatically push the prices up for other commodities due to an increase in manufacturing, processing and transport costs.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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