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Chocolate tax will control obesity – CS Rotich

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 19 – If white chocolate, chocolate blocks, slabs or bars are your means of escape from the stresses of life, brace your self because you’re about to start paying more for your guilty pleasure.

But Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says the proposed Sh20 excise duty for every 1Kg of sugar confectionery will reduce your sweet tooth, hence save you from lifestyle diseases such diabetes and counter rising obesity levels.

“You’re complaining about this tax while the country is spending more on obesity. That was the rationale we used when we decided to control the problem through taxation while also increasing government’s revenue,” Rotich told the National Assembly Finance Committee.

Apart from chocolates, sweets, candied nuts, chewing gum and bubble gum will also be affected by the confectionary excise duty.

The sweet tooth tax is one of the tax proposals contained in a memo send by President Uhuru Kenyatta to the National assembly as part of raising revenue.

Rotich said failure to pass the tax proposals will adversely affect the revenues collected, “making it inconsistent with the approval fiscal framework and provisions of the Division of Revenue Act, 2018.”

A 50 G Snikers single chocolate bar costs about Sh120, while an 80G Cadbury chocolate bar costs Sh160. The country’s confectionery market has been growing, with 9 firms producing an estimated 55,4187 metric tonnes out of which 23,084 is exported.

Kenyatta has set his eyes on items that the everyday Kenyan uses to run a costly national and county government structure, fund his ambitious Big Four Agenda as well as repay mounting debt.

Other tax recommendations include an 8pc VAT on petroleum products, motor vehicle duty of between 20 and 30pc, and an increase in duty on mobile and internet data services from 10pc to 15pc.

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There is also a proposal to increase the excise duty on mobile money transfer from 10pc to 20pc.

The Housing Development Fund tax to be paid by the employees has been revisited and increased to 1.5pc and employer at 1.5pc of the monthly basic salary with a penalty of 5 percent for employers who fails to submit the contributions

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