, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – The Kenya Publishers Association on Monday demanded that the government review the VAT Bill that seeks to tax zero-rated goods and services at the standard 16 percent.
Lawrence Njagi, the association’s chairman says the taxes will lead to surge in the prices of various mediums of education and as such affect the quality of education.
Njagi said “There will be a dramatic increase in the cost of books and other learning materials by between 50 and 57 percent. The cost of education will increase and the quality decline with the Kenyan books losing their competitiveness in the global market as cost of production will rise.”
“Increase in the VAT will greatly affect the consumers of the books as the publishers and printers will impose high prices on their books so as to make up for the great cost of production,” added Njagi.
Speaking on the laptop project Njagi said that the government needs to conduct a pilot study to see how viable the project is, to help them know the kind of gadget that is best suited and as such they will be able to make amendments to ensure its effectiveness.
“The government should withhold the laptop project and take time to first address problems facing the education system such as poor learning conditions, lack of books and teachers. Instead they should consider building computer labs that can serve a lot more students and this will be cheaper and as effective,” said Njagi.
The association urged the government to include them in the development of the material and curriculum that will be used in the digital content of the laptop project. They noted that it will be cheaper for the government rather than having expatriates coming to develop one.
Speaking at a press briefing, the association demanded a speedy solution to the teachers strike as the students in public schools will suffer compared to those in private school during the national exams.