Uhuru’s quest to make Kenya a ‘bling’ nation


Published on 13/06/2009

Uhuru’s quest to make Kenya a ‘bling’ nation

By Kenfrey Kiberenge

Kenya is set to become a hub of gorgeous women and ‘kings of bling bling’, thanks to Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

Openly declaring that he wanted beautiful women to be the face of Kenya, the Deputy Prime Minister reduced excise duty on cosmetics and skin care products from 10 per cent to five per cent and abolished the excise duty on jewellery products.

“In the recognition of the fact that beautiful women are the face of a healthy society, I propose to reduce excise duty on cosmetics and skin care products from 10 per cent to five per cent,” said Uhuru during his Budget speech in Parliament on Thursday.

This in effect means products such as body perfumes, antiperspirants, face creams, hair weaves and wigs, gels and body and hand lotions will be retailing at a cheaper price.

Other things that women will obtain for less — if the manufacturers are scrupulous enough to pass the benefits to the consumers — include powder, mascara, lipsticks, eye shadows and blushers, among others.

Kenya will also be a ‘jewelled nation’, following the removal of excise duty on all jewellery products. The women will complete their elegance look, from cheaper make-up, with products such as necklaces, earrings, studs, rings and bracelets.

Flamboyant artiste Jackson Makini alias CMB Prezzo’s reign as the ‘king of bling bling’ is threatened as men will rush to take advantage of the gesture by Uhuru — to buy chains and pendants to look stylish.

Products such as weaves and wigs will be affordable and jewellery will no longer be a preserve of the rich. [PHOTO: JENIFER WACHIE/STANDARD]

But the DPM was not yet done, apparently aware that it takes more than just jewelleries and make-up to look gorgeous. He reduced import duty on second-hand clothing, commonly known as mitumba, from the current rate of $0.3 (Sh23) to $0.20 (Sh16) per kilo.

The minister said this was to allow “those among us who cannot afford expensive clothing during this difficult time,” brought about by the ongoing global economic recession that has compounded the social economic challenges facing the country.

No more sin taxes

Once he ensured that you look good, Uhuru had to make sure sipping your favourite soft or alcoholic drink would no longer be a costly affair. In a rare gesture, the Finance minister gave incentives to these two sectors, which have been targets of previous ministers, who have been slapping the so-called sin taxes in every Budget.

He reduced excise duty on water from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, and that on carbonated soft drinks such as soda and juices from 10 per cent to seven per cent.

The minister did not stop there: He changed the excise duty on spirits from Sh7 per one per cent of alcohol per litre to Sh120 or 65 per cent, while that of wines changed from Sh7 per one per cent of alcohol per litre to Sh70 or 50 per cent.

“I expect this measure to reduce the prices of portable spirits and wines thereby making them affordable to our people to reduce consumption of unhygienic and dangerous illicit spirits,” he added.

The minister further removed import duty on asbestos fibres used in the manufacture of brake linings and pads to ensure no Kenyan drives a vehicle without the all-important parts.

You should also make sure your parents or grandparents, if aged above 65, as well as the mentally challenged, do not miss their monthly allowance from the Sh200 million set aside for them. But you have to be patient for a while and listen keenly when modalities for ensuring effective and timely transfer of such funds on a monthly basis are released. Uhuru said the plans would be developed before the end of this year.

He also sought to take away the ‘royal jelly’ from the country’s three major cities by giving incentives to people who invest in satellite towns around Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

Food subsidies

“To encourage dispersion of investment outside the central business districts, I propose a very generous investment allowance of 150 per cent to any person who makes substantial investment in any satellite town around the major cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu,” said Uhuru.

It is high time you made plans to withdraw your savings from your pyramid scheme because they are now illegal. According to an official report, they have gone under with Sh34 billion belonging to Kenyans.

Uhuru also had goodies for the urban poor, where he set aside Sh1 billion to go towards food subsidies.

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