The Finance Bill 2018 was on Friday morning passed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta just moments before he left the country for New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
The bill was tabled before the president after Members of Parliament voted to pass the bill on Thursday in a hectic seating.
The Bill, passed by the National Assembly, reflects Uhuru’s recommendations for a reduction of VAT on petroleum products from 16 to 8 per cent that took effect on September 1, 2018 and other amendments on various taxes.
Following Kenyatta’s approval of the finance Bill, the cost of mobile money transfer services and the cost of airtime and data services is expected to rise with excise duty on mobile money services rising from 10 per cent to 20 per cent while the acquisition of airtime and internet bundles will attract a 15 per cent tax from the original 10 per cent.
The president’s memorandum also enclosed a suggestion to have civil servants give 1.5 per cent of their wages to the National Housing Development Fund. The revenue generated from this will be used to fund housing projects under the Big Four Agenda.
Uhuru also passed into law the Coast Guard Bill 2018 which has sanctioned the creation of the Kenyan Coast Guard Service who will be responsible for managing maritime security.
The service will also be responsible for port and coastal security, search and rescue, and the protection of maritime resources.
The President subsequently reiterated his commitment to ensuring public resources are used accordingly.
“I give my word that I will ensure proper utilization of public resources for a better Kenya. I will not relent on the war on corruption,” President Kenyatta said.
Even though Kenyatta got his way, the majority of MPs opposed the eight per cent value added tax on petroleum products. The opposing members of the National Assembly were however defeated since they did not reach the mandatory two-thirds majority (233) required to override the President’s recommendations on the Finance Bill 2018.