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Ministry Of Health Denies ARVs Shipment Redirected To West Africa Over Tax


ARVs. [Courtesy]

The ministry of Health has denied that ARVs meant for Kenya were shipped to West Africa after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) demanded to tax the drugs upon arriving at the port of Mombasa.

The Sh3.3 billion drugs, the ministry said, are procured by the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDs Relief and are exempted from tax.

“No single dose of ARV procured by the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID for Kenya, has been diverted to any other country due to non-payment of taxes imposed by the government,” MOH said in a statement.

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According to the ministry, regular meetings are held with procurement planning committee comprising PEPFAR and other key stakeholders where stock is monitored.

“The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is the Ministry’s agency responsible for the procurement, warehousing and distribution of medical products including the PEPFAR funded commodities,” the statement read.

“Procurement under the PEPFAR funding stream is on-going with shipments from the various vendors expected in the country beginning this January.”

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On Monday, the taxman denied diverting the ARV shipment and the story doing rounds on the interwebs was “fake.”

“KRA would like to inform the public that the story running on social media titled “ARVs meant for Kenyans shipped to West Africa after KRA demanded taxes on them” is not factual,” KRA posted on Facebook.

“KRA wishes to clarify that it has not declined to clear any ARV supplies.”

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The blog indicated that KRA demanded to tax the consignment back in October 2019. The shipment was later redirected to an unspecified West African country.

“US Embassy in Kenya refused to pay the tax and asked KEMSA to do it. KEMSA refused and KRA stood its ground. The shipper went back to USAid, seeking further instructions on what to do with the drugs. Do you know what happened, the drugs were taken to another country,” the blog reported.

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