Why Cofek rejects VAT on unga: Calling MPs, Treasury to shelf move

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) strongly rejects the government’s plan to levy Value Added Tax on maize flour, popularly known as unga.

This tax measure is not only poorly timed, but is also contemptuous. At a time when consumers are battling with depressed wages, high commodity prices, lack of job opportunities, Treasury adds salt to this injury with VAT ON a staple that many families are already struggling to put on the table.

A 2 Kg packet of maize meal is currently retailing at Sh130, and a 16% VAT will take the price to Sh151
This will be a devastating blow to Kenyan consumers.

Different types of unga: Prices to go up if Finance Bill is passed

Furthermore, adding VAT to wheat flour will add pain to households who cannot afford to put breakfast on the table. Wheat flour is currently trading at an average of Sh160 for a 2-kg packet. Adding VAT here will take the price to Sh186

We are calling on Ms Gladys Wanga, the Chairperson of the National Assembly Finance committee, to immediately withdraw these proposed amendments as contained in the Finance Bill 2022. Ms Wanga’s Committee imposed 8 percent VAT on fuel triggering off the worst economic nightmare.

Cofek is calling on all consumers to reject these these poorly timed and harmful tax measures and send MPs a clear message: Hands off our Unga!

It should be noted that the government has a constitutional and civic duty under Article 43 of the Constitution to guarantee Wanjiku “to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality”.

Tax measures

We will oppose these tax measures when the Finance Bill is subjected to public participation.

If MPs go ahead and pass them, we will tabulate how each of the MPs voted and publicly petition consumers to reject them at the ballot for their insensitivity to Kenyans.

We also stand ready to challenge in court any such taxes on basic commodities that undermine the constitution.

Our message to lawmakers is clear: do the right thing, stand with Kenyans and help lower the cost of living.

Finally, we call upon the key presidential contenders Dr William Ruto and Mr Raila Odinga to put the high cost of living on top of their respective campaign commitments.

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