Bottled water, juice and other non-alcoholic beverages consumers in Kenya will pay Sh1.50 more from November 11.
Interestingly, the amount will go directly to a Switzerland based excise stamp technology provider,SICPA and not the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
The firm was controversially awarded the Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS) tender by the KRA in 2013 at a cost of Sh17 billion, which it will recover directly from manufacturers.
Yesterday, Activist Okiya Omtatah described the implementation of the excise stamp on the products as government’s punishment to consumers to profit a foreign entity.
Speaking to the Star on phone, the activist who successfully opposed the tax in High Court last year before the ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeal said the single sourcing of the firm for the tender was suspect and against the law.
”The EGMS will only benefit SICPA and its agents who are going to recover the cost at hand. It is oppressive and duplicates roles done by Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs),” Omtatah said.
His views are supported by the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) inquiry report dated April, which found out the tender was overpriced with the burden pushed to manufacturers who in turn pass the costs to consumers.
The EGMS was designed to protect KRA from tax loss as well as protect consumers from counterfeit liquor and tobacco that have proliferated the market.
The system’s design features tracking of products by incorporation into the production chain of manufacturers as well as authentication features verifiable by consumers.