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EPRA, Kenya Power officials face house finance team over fuel price hikes

NAIROBI, Kenya Sept 28- The Parliamentary Committee on Finance and National Planning was Tuesday expected to begin the consideration of the two petitions challenging the increase in prices of petroleum and petroleum products blamed for the sharp rise in the cost of living in the country.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and the Petroleum Institute of East Africa are among five stakeholders expected to give submissions to the lawmakers.

A schedule issued by the Gladys Wanga-led committee shows that the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) are slated to submit their views.

Clerk of the National Assembly Micheal Sialai on Friday published a notice urging members of the public to address themselves to a petition which was submitted to the National Assembly by Antony Manyara and John Wangai seeking to abolish the 8 percent Value Added Tax, which staged an increase in the prices of petroleum products.

Sialai said the committee will be required to inquire how demurrage charges, fees levied by shipping lines to the importer, affect the pricing of petroleum, how much they are per month, and in which component of the fuel pricing they are contained.

The House team is also to inquire into the implementation of the Fuel Stabilization Fund and establish why the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited is still a factor in petroleum pricing yet it no longer refines crude oil.

“The inquiry also aims to understand the impact of increased fuel prices to the economy and general welfare of Kenyans,” read the invitation for public submissions.

House Speaker Justin Muturi directed that the Wanga-led team should attach a draft bill to the report proposing legislative interventions to reverse the situation.

The matter has elicited a heated debate as both the Legislators and Executive engaged in a blame game on whether there could be other reasons beyond taxation causing fuel prices to rise.

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The hearing comes a day after the High Court temporarily halted the decision by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to adjust exercises duty rates for petroleum products.

Justice James Makau said the suspension order shall remain in place pending hearing and determination of a judicial review application filed by Isaiah Yatta.

The judge directed that the petition be served to KRA, EPRA, Cabinet Secretaries in charge of Treasury, Petroleum and Mining as well as Energy.

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