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House invites memoranda amid public outcry on fuel prices

NAIROBI, Kenya Sept 25 – The National Assembly Finance and National Planning Committee has kicked off its 14-day inquiry to consider a petition challenging hiked fuel prices blamed for the significant increase in the cost of living in the country.

The Committee which is chaired by Homa Bay Woman County Representative Gladys Wanga has invited members of the public to submit their views either through written a memorandum or during a public hearing slated for September 28.

In a public notice published in national newspapers on Saturday, the Clerk of the National Assembly Micheal Sialai said submissions should address themselves to a petition by Antony Manyara and John Wangai seeking to abolish the 8 per cent Value Added Tax, which staged an increase in the prices of petroleum products.

“The Committee, pursuant to power conferred under the provisions of Standing Order 227 has resolved to conduct an inquiry into the drastic increase in prices of petroleum and petroleum products with the following terms of reference; to inquire into the amount of revenue raised from each of the taxes and levies paid on petroleum products per month. Investigate the purpose for which the levies raised through petroleum and petroleum products are used,” read the public notice.

Sialai said the Committee will be required to inquire on how demurrage charges, fees levied by shipping lines to the importer, affect the pricing of petroleum, how much they are per month and in which component of the fuel pricing they are contained.

“The Committee inquiry should determine whether pricing of petroleum should be done monthly or whether the period should be increased and seek alternative ways of raising revenue in lieu of imposition of taxes on petroleum products,” he said, outlining the Committee’s mandate.

The House team is also to inquire into the implementation of the Fuel Stabilization Fund and establish why the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited is still a factor in petroleum pricing yet it no longer refines crude oil.

“The inquiry also aims to understand the impact of increased fuel prices to the economy and general welfare of Kenyans,” read the invitation for public submissions.

House Speaker Justin Muturi directed that the Wanga-led team should attach a draft bill to the report proposing legislative interventions to reverse the situation.

The matter elicited a heated bebate as MPs engaged in a blame game on whether there could be other reasons beyond taxation causing fuel prices to rise.

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