The Kenya Publishers Association says there will be price increases for books on the list approved by the Ministry of Education.
The association’s Chairman David Waweru attributes the increases to a rise in the cost of production of books that has gone up by 22 percent and high taxation.
“With these upward movements of prices for inputs, publishers ought to have increased the prices of books up to 22 percent, however we know that Kenyans are already burdened by high taxes and high prices of basic commodities,” he said.
Waweru however says a majority of the titles will continue to sell at the same price.
He urged the government to remove the 16 percent VAT tax on books that has seen publishers making losses since it was implemented in 2013.
“In September 2013 the government imposed 16 percent VAT on books and the raw materials used for printing books. We are the second country in Africa after South Africa to impose VAT on books not withstanding that Kenya is signatory to international conventions that discourage taxation on books. No progressive nation in the world taxes books,” he complained.
Further, the Kenya shilling depreciation by 24 percent last year significantly raised cost of imports as Kenya is a net importer of paper and other raw materials used for printing.
The association also raised concerns over book piracy that has seen the industry lose Sh3 billion annually.
“We are also calling on Kenyans to place higher value on knowledge, why is it that some Kenyans find money to dress nicely and to buy other things they consider essential and yet they don’t want to invest in knowledge?” he wondered.
The book costs shocker came as parents are yet to come to terms with inflated secondary school fees.
The Kenya National Association of Parents will on Monday present a petition to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, demanding the arrest of a number of County Education Directors over inflated secondary school fees.
The association’s Secretary General Musau Ndunda has accused the directors of incompetence saying secondary schools continue to increase fees under their watch, contrary to a government directive.