I am going to tackle some of the issues faced by them over a series of blog entries...
REFUNDS - of taxes, duties, etc...
Refunds to the Horticulture Industry
|1.||to give back or restore (esp. money); repay.|
|2.||to make repayment to; reimburse.|
I have written on the delayed refunds to Oil Marketers which costs them 100s of Millions annually, only part of which are passed onto consumers, while the government mandarins/idiots berate them for not reducing prices while sitting on Oil Marketers money!
Now I come across what is an even more RIDICULOUS situation!
The GoK (Govt of Kenya) has apparently "raised" the refund kitty from $8,571 to $14.3 Million in 2007. Imagine a refund kitty of $8,571 for an industry that has arrears amounting to $43 Million! So a mere 33% will be refunded! $8,571 does not even buy a USED car!
Which idiot (who was probably paid more than $9,000) made the decision to allocate ONLY $8,571 for refunds in the first place? These exporters have to borrow at 12%+ rates from the banks to finance their operations while waiting for their refunds!
An average borrowing cost of 15% means Horticulture exporters subsidised the GoK in the amount of $6.5 Million/year!
Why is the VAT collected not refunded asap (meaning within 30 days at most)?
What are the idiots waiting for? Do they want these firms to collapse?
Even the idiots we call MPs (well, most anyway, there are some good ones e.g. Wangari Mathaai) more in annual travel reimbursements than $9,000!
Add some insult to the wound, the "increase" in VAT refunds does not take into account the constant accumulation of refunds due as horticulture exports increase. So apart from leaving a huge portion "unpaid" there is the question of new VAT submissions.
Quote from bdafrica: "Agriculture Minister Kipruto Kirwa says the move is part of the government efforts to streamline the fresh produce sector, which is currently subjected to more than 35 taxes that industry players want harmonized or scrapped altogether."
Well, duh! This is a sector that has suffered from a strong KShs for over 1 year & needs help. I want to make it clear that I whereas I do not support currency support or other non-market measures (with some exceptions), I think it is only fair that we make business EASIER for these exporters!Challenges include:
- New stringent EU food/horticultural import regulations e.g. origin rules produce
- Competition from North & West Africa
- Lack of sufficient, reasonably priced belly space for exports to Europe/America
- Strong Kenya Shilling vs hard currencies esp US$ thus reduced competitiveness
Even the government realises that the inordinate delay in VAT refunds has led to cashflow constraints as well as hampering operations thus REDUCING levels of employment!A sector that:
- earns gross receipts of $637 Million (14% of Kenya's forex receipts)
- is a large contributor to GDP (est at 25% including local sales)
- is #3 earner of forex (behind Tourism & Tea)
- employs upto 3 Million Kenyans within the entire process
The slow refunds will starve these businesses of profits (& cash flow) needed to expand & compete with other producers in other countries.
Why are we killing one of our Golden Egg Laying Geese?