Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced tough austerity measures and targeted luxury spending Thursday as he unveiled his plan to fund Kenya’s Ksh.3.1trillion shillings budget.
Speaking Thursday afternoon in Parliament, CS Rotich announced increased ‘sin tax’ on wine and whiskey by Ksh.18 and Ksh.24 respectively.
“A 750ml bottle of wine will have an excise duty of Ksh.136 which is Ksh.18 more from the current rate.
The duty of a bottle of whisky will go up by Ksh.24 to Ksh.182 for a 750ml bottle. The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes will increase by Ksh.8 to Ksh.61 per packet,” the Treasury boss said.
Rotich also slapped a 10 per cent tax on betting, explaining that the move is aimed at curtailing the negative effects of the wide-spread habit.
To bolster the fight against corruption, the CS stated that the Government will up allocations for anti-graft bodies in the 2019 budget – this even as Kenyans continue to raise concern over graft and government wastage.
“To sustain the drive against corruption, I have enhanced allocations to the institutions mandated to fight corruption, he said.
“We have allocated Ksh.2.9 billion to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Ksh.3.0 billion to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ksh.149.0 million to the Unclaimed Assets Recovery Agency, Ksh.50 million to Asset Recovery Agency, Ksh.540.8 million to the Financial Reporting Centre, Ksh 7.1 billion to the Criminal Investigations Services, and Ksh.5.7 billion to the Office of the Auditor General.”
While Rotich acknowledged that boda bodas play an important role in the transport sector, he pointed out that the mode of transport has proven to be risky to passengers and pedestrians.
“The accident victims, who are mostly from the lower cadres of the society, are left to seek financial assistance for treatment from friends and relatives since these boda bodas are not insured,” Rotich said, adding that tuk tuks and boda bodas will hence be required to have insurance covers for passengers and pedestrians.
In a raft of austerity measures aimed at reducing the ballooning public wage bill, Rotich also announced a freeze on the recruitment of public servants and directed all Government ministries and departments to source their vehicles from local assembly plants
Public officers travelling abroad or locally will also face tight restrictions on expenditure under a new transport policy.