Nairobi [Kenya], April 6 (ANI): Member of Parliament of Kenya's Alego Usonga, Samuel Atandi is likely to introduce a Bill to amend Excise Duty Act 2015 to halt fish imports from China, Kenya based The Star newspaper reported.
The legislator argued fish imports from China are cheaper and flooding the Kenyan market thereby driving local fish traders out of business.
Atandi in a letter to National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula said the amendment will introduce excise duty on imported fish at the rate of 20 per cent of the custom duty.
"Currently, fish imports from China are cheaper than locally produced fish. This importation of cheap fish is adversely affecting the local industry and may lead to loss of employment in the fish industry," the letter read in part, according to The Star.
Atandi estimated that the fish industry employs some 1.2 million people directly and indirectly through fishing, fish farming and sale.
Excise taxes are levied on specific goods and services, and the list of goods and services subject to excise tax in Kenya are listed in the First Schedule of the Excise Duty Act, 2015.
Part I of the schedule covers the goods, whereas Part II covers the services. Excise duty in the past was viewed as a 'sin tax' levied on goods that were detrimental to health and the environment.
These products included alcohol, tobacco, petroleum products, and sugared and sweetened beverages, in order to increase the prices of these commodities and therefore reduce their consumption and limit their access to children and the youth, as per The Star.
According to data from the State Department of Fisheries, Kenya shipped in 14.8 million kilograms of fish from China in 2021, valued at Kenyan Shilling (Sh)2 billion, up from Sh 1.5 billion in 2020.
Reports have shown the value of fish imports has been rising steadily in the recent years, save for 2020 because of the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
Reports said the imports were to bridge the growing deficit due to dwindling stocks from major local sources such as Lake Victoria, according to The Star.
Other sources of fish are Norway, Tanzania, India and Uganda. (ANI)