Counties

Nairobi traders say new county levies punitive

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Onion trader Kamau Maina weighs onions at Nairobi's Wakulima Market on 24th June 2018. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NMG

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Summary

  • The traders, who gave their views during a public participation meeting on the Nairobi County Finance Bill 2021, said some of the charges amount to double taxation and should be dropped.
  • In the bill, the City Hall proposes the introduction of new offloading fees for different fresh produce ranging between Sh30 and Sh3,000, among other charges.

Nairobi traders have opposed proposed new levies by the Nairobi County government terming them punitive.

The traders, who gave their views during a public participation meeting on the Nairobi County Finance Bill 2021, said some of the charges amount to double taxation and should be dropped.

In the bill, the City Hall proposes the introduction of new offloading fees for different fresh produce ranging between Sh30 and Sh3,000, among other charges.

The traders said most of the proposed levies will burden them at a time when their businesses are still reeling from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They also faulted the hiking of the charges when they still face many challenges ranging from uncollected garbage, lack of lavatories, water and security as well as harassment by council askaris.

Westlands Market Traders Association said increasing charges for stall traders from Sh500 to Sh2,000 is way beyond their pockets, saying it might drive many of them out of business.

The traders’ representative Martin Ndung’u said it made no sense to hike the levies at the refurbished market yet it is incomplete and still lacks lifts, cleaning staff, CCTVs and parking space.

“City Hall targets to raise Sh9.5 million from this market every year yet basic amenities like security, cleaning staff, water and latrines are missing in the market,” said Mr Ndung’u.

Wakulima Market traders also faulted the Ann Kananu-led administration for multiple cess levied on fresh produce as the county government aims to raise Sh20 million monthly from the charges with the bill proposing a daily cess fee of Sh50.

Their representative, Tom Munyao, said they pay three different cess; the first charged on transporting the fresh produce, the second for offloading and the third while selling the same produce.

“The charges should be reduced so that traders can earn from their business rather than spending all their money on paying the levies,” he said.

Burma Market traders asked City Hall to reduce the proposed Cess they pay per carcass currently pegged at Sh300 to Sh150.

Fish sellers from Gikomba Market pleaded with the county government to completely remove proposed Sh30 per box charges on the product, arguing that they already pay food handlers and inspection certificates at the market.

Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriations committee chairperson Robert Mbatia assured the stakeholder that their submissions will be looked into before the bill is taken back to House for consideration.

“The proposed fees are not final and as a committee, we shall look at the final charges presented to us after this forum for consideration,” said Mr Mbatia.

According to the bill, offloading a lorry of flowers in Nairobi will cost Sh3,000, a ton of macadamia and French beans Sh1,000; while for avocado Sh800 per probox and Sh1,500 per pickup.

For tomatoes, the charges will be Sh200 per large box weighing above 100 kilograms, Sh100 for medium box weighing above 50kgs and Sh50 for small box weighing 50kgs and less.

For imported fish, the charges will be Sh30 per box, thorn melon Sh50 per box, miraa Sh500 for box weighing above 100kgs and Sh1,000 for those above 500kgs and Sh100 per 100kg bag.

All other items not captured in the list will attract an offloading fee of Sh100 per pickup and Sh500 per lorry.

The proposed taxes are aimed at raising Sh19.8 billion own-source revenue for City Hall for the financial year ending June 30, 2022.

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