NAIROBI, March 5 (Xinhua) -- A plan by Kenya to impose 16 percent value added tax (VAT) on petroleum products in the third quarter of this year would push up inflation to at least 8 percent, according to analysts.
The taxation, which would start in September, is expected to add some 0.17 U.S. dollars on the cost of every litre of kerosene, diesel and petrol.
Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge said the move was part of a deal between the government and the International Monetary Fund two years ago to help reduce budget deficit. It is expected to earn the government at least 703 million dollars in revenue annually.
"Going forward, upward pressure on the inflation rate is likely to come from fuel and transport prices as the Treasury plans on imposing 16 percent VAT on petroleum products. We expect inflation rates for 2018 to average 7.5 percent, which is the upper level of the government target range of between 2.5 percent and 7.5 percent," Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm, said in a note on Monday.
Inflation rate for February declined to a four-year low of 4.5 percent, from 4.8 percent in January, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The government has in the last months accelerated both domestic and external borrowing to fill budget deficit and undertake development projects. Domestic borrowing has mainly been used for budgetary support, with the debt currently standing at 23 billion dollars.
The government is currently ahead of its domestic borrowing target for the present fiscal year, having borrowed 226 million dollars, against a target of 198 million dollars.