Mombasa, KENYA: The 2017/2018 budget brings a sign of relief to maize flour and wheat consumers in the country, as Treasury CS Henry Rotich has proposed zero rating for the commodities.
Reading the budget on Thursday at the national assembly, CS Rotich said the national treasury will remove taxes on maize,wheat and bread in the next four months in order to lower food prices and curb the cost of basic foods for Kenyans.
Rotich also added that for the next four months, the processes of importing maize will be duty free, aligning it to the expected harvests season and also due to the impacts caused by drought in the country.
He added that the 16 per cent VAT on maize and bread will be abolished.
“In order to make these basic commodities affordable for the common Mwananchi,I propose to zero- rate on bread and maize flour to remove VAT altogether,” he said.
The prices of maize floor now ranges from sh.130 to sh.150 at retail price, throughout the country.
Mr. Rotich urged the wholesalers, retailers and millers to reduce the prices of maize flour and bread to enable Kenyans attain the fundamental benefits of the reduced tax rate.
A section of Mombasa residents on Friday were still not happy with the budget reading, saying they were expecting the government to take an immediate move, lamenting that four months is too long for them t
o continue surviving with the condition.
Henry Maratani a Juakali worker said the government should come up with measures to quickly solve the high cost of living.
“I thought the matter would be solved immediately after the budget is read, let the government take a frequent measure on this,” said Maratani.
Drought pandemic is imposing a big challenge in the country especially in the arid and semi-arid areas where people are largely affected by hunger.
In dealing with the impacts of drought, President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on all the international and local stakeholders to join the government in managing the situation that is affecting many Kenyans.