The Energy Regulatory Commission is staring at a deep dilemma Friday as it readies to announce new pump prices amid the controversy over the 16 per cent value added tax on petroleum products.
With the rise in international crude prices last month and the VAT still in limbo but in force, the regulator may not have good news for Kenyans.
The announcement came on Wednesday, after a Russian publication quoted the player’s father, Dmitri, as saying in June 2017 that Cheryshev had received growth hormone injections when he played at Spanish side Villarreal.
ERC’s pricing Friday is clouded in uncertainty with a contempt proceeding on its doorstep for failing to respect a Bungoma High Court order by Justice Stephen Riech quashing the implementation of the 16 per cent levy on petroleum products to enable the President to either assent to or reject the amended Finance Bill passed by the National Assembly.
The dilemma is heightened by the silence from State House with the long wait for President Uhuru Kenyatta who had been out of the country when the VAT kicked in and whose signature the court battle is pegged on
ODM leader Raila Odinga had even assured the public on September 3 that the president would sign into law the amendments to the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products passed by Parliament.
Wednesday, government spokesperson Erick Kiraithe’s newspaper commentary that the president is yet to receive the bill pushing the tax by two years paints an even grimmer picture over the fuel tax stalemate.
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Another oddity facing Friday’s price revisions is the increasing costs for crude oil through the month of August which will be key in determining the pump prices since landed cost is a key component of the monthly price revisions.
The crude oil prices have been on the rise from a low of $75 per barrel at the beginning of the month to yesterday’s high of $79.4 per barrel (according to Brett crude data), meaning ERC may be forced to raise the prices amid foul public mood over the VAT.
Should ERC announce a higher revision of the petroleum product prices Friday, the uproar is bound to be worse since the public outcry took temporary relief thanks to the ongoing court battle and the hope of the president signing the Bill passed by parliament late last month to push the tax two years ahead.
Consumers Federation of Kenya secretary-general Stephen Mutoro said the move to delay presenting the Bill to the president is among the ploys being made to buy time.
“There is obviously no political goodwill to relieve consumers from this burden and for ERC to pretend to be implementing a tax law while ignoring a court order is simply double standard. You will still see a rise in pump prices tomorrow based on these dodgy moves they have made since last week when we all know these products are already overtaxed. The president must make a move, it’s an unprecedented silence from him on this one,” Mr Mutoro said.
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