Economy

Coast MPs seek share of revenue from Mombasa port to plug income gaps

coast leaders

Coast leaders Hassan Omar, Rashid Bedzimba, Badi Twalib and Omar Mwinyi during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Mombasa County Stadium on Monday. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mombasa MPs have urged the national government to grant the county part of revenues generated from the port. MPs Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) and Rashid Bedzimba of Kisauni said the county deserves to get a share of money collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority arguing that the Constitution provides that county governments manage port and harbours.

“It is unfortunate that our county is starved of revenue yet the port is our asset. In other parts of the world, counties and municipalities benefit from revenue generated from their local ports,” argued Mr Twalib. He said cargo trucks have been damaging roads, leaving the county with a huge repair bill.

Mr Mwinyi said Mombasa was facing financial constraints due to low collection of revenue from other avenues. Mr Bedzimba noted that the Commission on Revenue Allocation allocated the county Sh4.2 billion whereas its workers’ annual wage bill is Sh4.6 billion.

“Mombasa residents will not vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 General Election if his government will not allocate adequate funds to our county,” said Mr Bedzimba.

Mombasa senator Omar Hassan vowed to push the government to hand over the management of the port to the county.

“The authorities should know that the port belongs to Mombasa residents,” he said. “I will do what I can to ensure that the county bosses take over the management of the port.”

READ: KMA warns levies by counties on cargo could impede trade

The leaders made the remarks during Mashujaa Day celebrations at the county stadium on Monday. The push for port revenue comes after the county in its Finance Bill 2014 proposed to charge export and import fees, inspection fee and transport and infrastructure levies.

The county proposes to charge an export permit fee of $20 (Sh1,780) per  tonne of cargo handled at the port and an import clearance fee of $20 (Sh1,780) per tonne of cargo.

The county also proposes a $60 (Sh5,340) charge for inspection per ship and $60 (Sh5,340) for spraying vessels against vectors. Other charges are fumigation fee of $20 (Sh1,780) per tonne of cargo and $20 (Sh1,780) per tonne for supervision and destruction of condemned goods.

But Kenya Ports authority (KPA) chairman Danson Mungatana rejected the proposed levies saying users were already complaining port charges were too high.

He termed it unfair for the county to propose port levies without involving KPA and other maritime stakeholders adding that the port is a national asset.

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