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Tharaka-Nithi forecasts Sh70m revenue hit on trader boycotts

Revenue boycotts by traders in Tharaka-Nithi cost the county government more than Sh70 million in the last financial year, Governor Samuel Ragwa has said.

Mr Ragwa, who has accused a section of politicians of inciting traders in county towns against paying revenue, said the county will not achieve its Sh200 million target this year.

The boycott in Tharaka sub county entered the second month this week.

He noted that the county lost Sh78 million in similar boycotts in Chuka town and Kaanwa market last year.

Addressing Press in Mitheru market in Maara constituency, Mr Ragwa said the politicians have caused anarchy in the county where traders in Gatunga and Kathangacini markets have declined to pay tax for the last one month.

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The governor said some politicians held a public meeting in Gatunga town last month and asked traders to stop paying revenue claiming that the money does not benefit them.

“I know some senior politicians in the county who are inciting traders just to paralyse my development agenda for their political gain,” said Mr Ragwa.

The governor said the county intends to hire a private firm to help in the collection of revenue from September.

“We are in the tendering process of revenue collection firms. We expect to give the work to a private firm soon. This will improve efficiency in revenue collection,” he said.

Besides claims of poor service delivery, traders in Gatunga town are also demanding a separate administration from that of Marimanti town.

They want the centre to remain a market arguing that its designation as an urban centre, they have been forced to pay high revenue charges.

However, Mr Ragwa said there is no single market in Tharaka that qualifies to be an urban centre by its own and that is why Marimanti and Gatunga were jointly administered.

“If we have to separate the administration of the two markets, there will be no urban centre in Tharaka constituency,” he said.

He noted that the county has already forwarded three towns; Marimanti, Chuka and Chogoria whose infrastructural developments are expect to benefit from donor funds.

He also denied demands by the traders that those collecting revenue must come from the locality.

However, Mr Ragwa said he will soon meet with all town and market committees in Tharaka to discuss the matter.

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