Textbook firms write to Gvt asking to increase prices for approved course books

Lawrence Njagi, the Kenya Publishers’ Association chairman.

Textbook firms have written to the government asking for a 12 percent price increase on approved course books on the rising cost of printing paper.

Kenya Publishers Association (KPA)-which represents 99 per cent of local publishers- says it has written to Treasury and the Ministry of Education seeking the price adjustment.

The cost of printing paper shot up a fortnight ago when the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) effected the 25 percent import duty to printing paper from the previous 10 percent.

“We hope in the 2023 academic year we will be allowed to increase our prices otherwise our profit margins will continue to suffer,” said KPA chairman Lawrence Njagi.

Kenya publishers use printing papers imported from countries like India, China, Australia and Egypt to meet their demand for producing books.

Publishers must seek first authorisation from the government before effecting any price adjustments on approved course books.

The KRA began an audit on publishers to recover revenue that may have been foregone following a 2018 legal notice that made reviews on import duty.

“The purpose of this memo is to require the Deputy Commissioner, Risk Management and Post Clearance Audit to carry out an audit and collect all revenue that may have been foregone,” read a memo dated January 27 from the KRA Customs and Border Control Department.

The price increase on course books will force parents to dig deeper into their pockets come January 2023 when the academic calendar reverts to normal.

The normal school calendar was disrupted in 2020 when the government put measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Already, parents are feeling the financial pinch following the compressed school terms intended to recover lost time, alongside a price hike on school uniforms.

School sweater dealers at Uhuru market lamented increased costs on the imported thread which is their ideal raw material.

A uniform dealer along River Road said the price adjustment is linked to escalating costs of production especially on electricity.

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