Kenyan Economy Politics

Finance bill 2021: Uproar by Kenyans on the increased cost of basic commodities as 16% VAT and 20% excise duty effect is felt

President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a past event Image/Courtesy

One of the promises of the Jubilee duo before 2013 was a promise to lower the cost of living for Kenyans within 100 days of being in power. Indeed, the then Eldoret North MP William Ruto and the jubilee deputy presidential candidate was so enthusiastic about it and in a tweet, less than a month to the elections promised that that would be the first priority of the jubilee government.

According to Ruto then, it made no sense to continuously raise the salaries for employees yet at the same time the cost of basic commodities was going up, and therefore, his promise was that the Jubilee administration would see to it that for the same salary, Kenyans would be able to afford more commodities.

Close to 10 years later, Kenyans are up in arms against the same government that promised them heaven but instead has rewarded them with graves.

There is no question that the cost of living under the current government has gone up significantly. Before the Jubilee administration, the cost of Petrol was averaging Ksh. 70, today the average cost per litre is between Ksh. 110 and Ksh 130.

This month, the finance act came into effect, an act that sought to raise the excise duty of basic commodities by 20% as well as introduce 16% VAT on basic commodities. In the end, the cost of cooking gas for a 13kg cylinder has risen from Ksh.1800 to around Ksh. 2600.

And Kenyans have a reason to complain, during these times when families are hard hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the government has hit them hard when it should be making their lives easy. And the same Members of Parliament who passed the act are out in funerals shamelessly urging the government to intervene and lower taxes.

We sample some of the tweets from Kenyans regarding the finance bill