Cartels, opponents could use fuel VAT to scuttle grand Uhuru plan - Daily Nation

Cartels, opponents could use fuel VAT to scuttle grand Uhuru plan

Wednesday September 12 2018

By PETER WANJOHI

Of late, I have not heard of buildings on road reserves or riparian land coming down. The court cases on graft have stalled, having been adjourned.

Then there was Sunday’s display of utter contempt for the rule of law by Nairobi matatu crews with police silent until a patrol car was hit.

There is a feeling of déjà vu of the early 2000s, when there was wanton corruption and Mungiki did as they pleased.

The nation’s attention has been focused on the 16 per cent VAT on fuel. The media are behaving like a political party championing a cause and not reporting on the happenings.

CRISIS

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed’s motion to put the fuel VAT on hold was passed by Parliament with lawmakers closing ranks in its support. From the chorus around it, politicians now want to portray the crisis as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s to solve.

It’s as if they had nothing to do with the tax — yet they passed the law in 2013!

Look at the unreasonableness of the fare increase by matatu operators. Take the example of a ‘manyanga’ (omnibus) plying a city route. It carries 33 passengers at a go. At the end of the day, it refills the tank with about 50 litres of diesel. The additional cost on fuel is, therefore, 50 multiplied by 16, making it Sh800 per day.

Were this amount to be distributed among passengers, the extra fare to cover the fuel price increase is Sh800 divided by 33, or Sh24.25 each.

INCREASE COSTS

A Nairobi manyanga does not make one trip in a day but about eight. This means the fare rise ought to be 24.25 divided by eight, or Sh3 per passenger. With adjustments for the increase in other costs, the fare should not rise by more than Sh5 in Nairobi.

The media should put the matatu cartels and stakeholders in public transport to task over how they arrive at new fares after an increase in fuel prices.

Unfortunately, the cartels are raising fares by as much as Sh30 in Nairobi and making the whole VAT things look terribly evil.

CORRUPTION

This is corruption fighting back. The media are falling into the trap; so are Jubilee MPs. President Kenyatta is isolated and he is likely to be politically crucified on the fuel VAT cross by MPs from both the opposition and his Jubilee Party, covertly through a plot by the graft cartel.

The President’s ‘Big Four’ agenda will come to naught if this sly campaign is executed.

He must keep on fighting graft. If he retreats on this, he will always be put in a similar position and, eventually, his plans for the country will be scuttled.

Gitiche Chege, Kiambu.

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The pressure from Kenyans to the National Treasury to halt the fuel VAT is unwarranted, given the consequences of IMF action.

If the tax will save our country from a financial crisis, let’s have it but seal all corruption avenues and wastage in government.

Peter Wanjohi, Nairobi.