It’s time we enacted a National Tax Policy, PIEA tells Finance Committee

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The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) has urged the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning in the National Assembly to prioritize the draft National Tax Policy to have it enacted before the consideration of the next Finance Bill.

The call was made on Thursday morning by PIEA Chairperson, Ms. Wanjiku Manyara, during an engagement forum with the Committee at the Swiss Lenana Mount Hotel Nairobi.

The institute had invited Members of the Committee to a forum on the sensitization and awareness of the Petroleum Industry.

Ms. Manyara also underscored the need for the government to improve the strategy and the regulatory framework of the National Tax Policy to establish a predictable tax regime.

She lamented that every year, all sectors are ambushed when the Finance Bill is tabled in the National Assembly without prior stakeholder engagement.

This, she noted, makes it hard for businesses to adjust within the short timeframe that precedes the effecting of tax proposals once passed by Parliament.

"The current tax regime is not hinged on policy. We hope that the consideration of the draft National Tax Policy will form part of this Committee's priority," noted Ms. Manyara.

She further rooted for creating innovative tax reform strategies and expanding the tax base different from what has been applied to spur economic growth through wealth creation.

At the same time, the institute has also urged the Committee to facilitate the improvement of the existing tax policy and regulatory framework governing the energy sector to revive the local lubricants manufacturing sector. She decried that base oils and additives were attracting 10% import duty, yet base oils account for 90% of the inputs.

She observed that restrictive trade policies and practices had resulted in missed business opportunities and undermined market access in the EAC and COMESA region.

Ms. Manyara told the Committee that the lubricant segment reforms will not only lead to the revival of the local lubricant industry but will also help Kenya regain regional dominance in an export market currently being exploited by neighbouring countries in line with the government's roadmap to increase the manufacturing to the gross domestic product from the current 7.2 percent to 20 percent by 2030.

Responding to these concerns, the Members led by the Chair, Hon. Kimani Kuria noted that the Committee had in the 12th Parliament effected some tax exemptions on Liquified Petroleum Gas against Treasury's proposals so to promote the use of clean energy for cooking. He encouraged other stakeholders to hold continuous engagements with Parliamentary Committees and not wait until there's a crisis to do so.
The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) is the professional body for the oil and gas industry in the EA region. PIEA Is tasked with the mandate of capacity building in the industry by engaging petroleum associations and stakeholders in the EA region in the establishment of harmonized standards & practices.

The institute is also tasked to lobby with policymakers and regulatory agencies to provide a legal, stable, free and competitive market.

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    Samuel Ouma is an enthusiastic communication and media personnel with five years of experience. Samuel holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Media from Laikipia University, Kenya. He specializes in research, news writing, editing and presenting, photography, videography as well as communication-related issues inside and out of an organization.

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