Fish Prices Set To Rise By 50 Percent On New Taxes

By Getrude Mathayo / Published May 30, 2023 | 11:46 am




KEY POINTS

According to the Kenya Association of Fish Importers, Processors, and Exporters, imposing excise duty on fish imports will push the cost of buying fish by at least 50 percent.


Fish

Kenyans could be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to buy fish if the new bill is passed in parliament. The cost of buying fish will rise by 50 percent if Parliament approves a proposal to introduce an excise duty of 100,000 shillings per tonne to shield the local market from cheaper Chinese imports.

According to the Kenya Association of Fish Importers, Processors, and Exporters, imposing excise duty on fish imports will push the cost of buying fish by at least 50 percent.

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Imported fish from China has been retailing at 250 shillings per kilo, against the local fish which retails at 320 shillings per kilo. The lawmaker called for the amendment of the Excise Duty Act, 2015, to introduce the excise duty on imported fish.

The Treasury, through the Finance Bill 2023, proposes an excise duty on imported fish at the rate of 50 percent of the cost, insurance, and freight or 100,000 shillings per tonne, whichever is higher. Currently, fish is categorized under exempt supplies.

“The proposal to impose an excise on fish by 100 shillings per kilogram would make the price of fish skyrocket and out of reach of Kenyans,” said John Msafari, chairman of the Kenya Association of Fish Importers, Processors and Exporters.

“This proposal will further increase the price of fish by 50 percent. In essence, the price of fish shall have doubled compared to 20 months ago, rendering fish expensive.”

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The importers said they spend 5.2 million shillings to land a 40-feet container with 26 metric tonnes of tilapia fish at Mombasa port and that the excise duty would push the prices to 7.8 million shillings.

For a 40 feet container with 26 metric tonnes of mackerel fish to land at the port, the importers said the cost would rise to Sh7.8 million from the current 5.1 million shillings.

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Every year, the fish demand deficit in the country stands at 365,000, and the country relies on imports from China to bridge this gap. In 2021, the value of fish imports from China hit a high of 2 billion shillings from 1.5 billion shillings the previous year, representing a 25 percent growth.

Kenya imported 14.8 million kilos of fish from China compared to fish from Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya imported 14.8 million kilos of fish from China compared to fish from Uganda and Tanzania.

Excise duty on imported goods has been a major cause of high prices in the country, as traders pass it to consumers. In March 2023, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) clarified that it did not revise the second-hand clothes (mitumba) levy.

KRA noted that the import levy for mitumba was published in the East Africa Gazette notice and remains at 26 shillings per kilogram. There have been reports doing rounds on social media that the authority had raised the levy to 108.30 shillings.

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