Kenyans with HIV/Aids can finally sigh with relief after a consignment of ARVs valued at Ksh 1.2 billion was released to counties yesterday.
The lives of over 1.5 million HIV patients were thrown in jeopardy as life-saving drugs worth Sh2.1 billion remained stuck at the port of Mombasa over a tax dispute between Kenya and the donor, US Agency for International Development (USAid).
Earlier on, The anti-retroviral drugs arrived in the country on January 18 but we’re not cleared for entry as the Kenya Revenue Authority and USAid failed to agree on who should pay the taxes.
To the amused Kenyans, it was left to wonder whether there should be any tax claim in the first place on the essential items which were donated to help the patients leaving with the virus.
The squabble between the government and the donor Led to a series of protest from sex workers who demanded release of the drugs.
According to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, the USAID had released the drug consignment that had been stuck at the port and patients are expected to receive them during the week.
The commodities are normally received from Kemsa. Imports through private firms do not qualify for special exemptions and are subject to the normal clearance procedure, which involves inspection at the port by KEBS and imposition of taxes.
Highly affected counties like Homabay will be among the first beneficiary to land the drugs.