Kenyans can breathe a sigh of relief after the High Court issued temporary orders barring the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner’s decision to adjust excise duty rates on petroleum products that was set to come into effect from October 1.

A group of youth from Ufanisi Center in Korogocho slums, Nairobi, had moved to court to oppose KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu’s decision to adjust the excise duty rates on fuel.

Justice James Makau, in his decision, said he had found that the application met the threshold required receive the interim orders.

"I find the application meets the threshold for interim orders. The petitioners have established they have a prima facie case with a likelihood of success," said Makau.

He also said it would be hazardous to Kenyans should the prices of fuel be further increased as a result of KRA adjusting the excise duty rates as it had proposed.

However, the decision by KRA was pending approval by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

Ufanisi Center, through their lawyer Kenneth Amondi, had asked the court to issue an order quashing Mburu’s decision to adjust the said duty on petroleum products.

The group said KRA and Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) had disregarded the participation of members of the public who are already overtaxed before making the adjustments.

Representatives from Ufanisi Center - Wilson Yata and Isaiah Odando - said Kenyans were reeling from the harsh economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The same was devoid of proper public participation at a time when Kenyans are reeling from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic thereby compromising the people's entitlement to social justice,” they said.

Mburu said the excise duty adjustment would take effect from October 1, using the 2020-2021 financial year’s rate of 4.97 per cent.