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Muslims welcome tax waiving on imported date fruits

Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) has welcomed the government’s move to waive tax on imported date fruits during the Holy month of Ramadhan slated for early next month.

CIPK National Organizing Secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa said the move will go a long way in assisting the Muslims since dates are popular food item mostly consumed during the blessed month of Ramadhan.

Sheikh Khalifa said following the tax exemption of this important commodity, traders should reduce the prices to make them affordable to poor Muslims.

Muslims across the world are set to start observing the holy month of Ramadhan, a period of fasting and prayer on April 2, this year.

Muslims faithful consider the 9th month of their calendar, known as Ramadhan, to be more than just a time of fasting, it’s a month of restraint for the whole body.

The month of Ramadhan is also the month of reaching out to people and giving charity as the faithful are required to reach out to the needy and poor, feed them and give them charity throughout the fasting season.

During the daily fast, Muslims refrain from dawn to sunset from eating, drinking, smoking and husband and wife sexual relationships.

Fasting is compulsory upon every Muslim male or female but exemptions include children under the age of puberty, insane people, men and women who are too old to undertake the obligation of fast.

Others include sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast, pregnant women, breast-feeding women and those undergoing their menstrual cycle.

Dates are traditionally the first food Muslims break their daylong fast with in the evening. Dates are sweet fruits that grow in a palm-like tree and are mostly found in the Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Syria and United Arab Emirates.

National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the government has authorized that the dates imported and cleared between 20th March and 10th May, 2022 be done without the payment of taxes, Import Declaration Fee and Railways Development levy.

In a letter to the Commissioner General of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) dated 10th March, 2022, Yatani said for the last few years, the government as a gesture of manifesting goodwill to Muslims in the country, allowed the duty- free importation of dates for use or paid the relevant taxes in the absence of legal provisions for waivers.

“During the Holy month of Ramadhan, Muslims are expected to break their fast at sundown each evening by consuming dates prior to any other foods,” said the CS.

By Mohamed Hassan

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