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Muslims to import tax-free dates during Ramadhan – state

Dates imported and cleared between March 1- April 20, 2024, will be exempted

by MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Dates on sale at a stall in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu when Muslims prepared for the fasting month of Ramadan.

The Muslim community has a reason to smile after the government exempted them from paying taxes on dates imported for the holy month of Ramadhan.

In a letter dated January 29, 2024, the Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u noted that the taxes due on the dates imported during Ramadhan will be on the government.

“To provide the same support of the Muslim Community the government has authorised that the dates imported and cleared during this year’s Ramadhan period, be done without payment of taxes, import declaration fees and railway development levy,” the letter addressed to Kenya Revenue Authority reads.

With  March 10 – April 4 expected to be the tentative Ramadhan period, dates imported and cleared between March 1 and April 20, 2024, will be considered for tax exemption.

Initially, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim had written to the CS requesting for the tax exemption on dates.

The request was made through its Secretary General  Abdullahi Salat in a letter dated January 25, 2024.

As a result, KRA acting Deputy Commissioner Policy and International Affairs Lucy Ng’ang’a stated that dates to be considered for exemption must be imported and cleared between March 1, 2024 and April 20, 2024.

“The duty-free importation of the dates shall expire on April 20, 2024. Any such imports coming in thereafter shall attract the full duties, taxes, fees, and levies,” she said in an internal memo on Monday.

Dating back to the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, who broke his fast with three dates and water, the consumption of dates during Ramadhan holds both spiritual and nutritional significance.

Apart from their cultural and religious importance, dates are rich in natural sugars, fibre, and essential vitamins, providing a quick energy boost and replenishing nutrients lost during the day of fasting.

Beyond their role in breaking the fast, dates have been recognised for their health benefits, including improving digestion, reducing blood pressure, and supporting heart health.

This makes them an ideal choice for those observing Ramadan, as they are easy to digest after a day of fasting.

In Islam, dates are considered a blessed fruit, and consuming them during Ramadan is believed to bring blessings and rewards, connecting individuals with their faith and the prophetic tradition.

The government’s decision to grant tax exemption on dates reflects a thoughtful consideration of the religious practices and well-being of the Muslim community during this sacred month.

Source: The Star

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