- Kenya National Chambers of Commerce Vice President, Eric Rutto said an increase of SMEs into the formal sector would expand the tax base and therefore bring taxes come down.
- He wondered why there were pending bills in the national and county government while the law makes it mandatory that money is allocated at the tendering point.
Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry presidential candidate Eric Rutto has promised to put in structures that will help the government collect taxes, while at the same time easing the burden on businesses, if elected.
While appreciating that Kenya is a high taxed nation, he said the chamber will establish a database and organise the bottom of the pyramid to bring 6.4 million Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) into the formal sector.
This will help government in its plans to expand the tax base, easing the pressure on taxpayers.
“We as the business people, as patriotic Kenyans under KNCCI, are paying taxes and we have discussed with delegates from different regions on ways of embarking on a serious program to digitise and have a database of businesses across the country,” he said.
Speaking in Nakuru when he met delegates from the six counties of the South Rift Economic Bloc, Rutto said the SMEs database will help identify activities by businesses and improve trading amongst themselves.
KNCCI will also use the data base to link SMEs with businesses in the regional and overseas markets.
“Having this information on SMEs would inform the chambers about what opportunities they require and the challenges they are facing and link them with government to solve them,” he said.
Rutto who was accompanied by his running mate, Mustafa Mohammed, said if elected, they will address the issue of pending bills.
They also plan to push for access to credit for SMEs.
The chamber's national elections are set for June 8, with campaigns for different positions at the national and regional levels in top gear.
The candidate who held a closed door meeting with delegates from Nakuru, Laikipia, Narok, Kericho, Bomet and Baringo, promised to build a world class chambers of commerce, linking businesses to their peers and government.
He has pledged to drive value chains in agriculture rich-South Rift region, mainly on livestock and food-crops for for export.
“KNCCI and its international network is going to develop a clear plan to help link businesses from the six counties to international market,” he said.
He noted that Nakuru City and Naivasha were becoming industrial hubs with new investments coming up.
“We have had talks on how local businesses, the SMES can participate in this. KNCCI will develop a master plan on available opportunities to help the tap the value chain of the industrialisation process that is taking place in the county,” he said.
Rutto, the current vice-president, is competing against his boss, chamber president Richard Ngatia.
They are the only two candidates in the race for the top job at the business lobby entity.
Ngatia is seeking re-election with businessman Abdulwalli Shariff Ahmed as his running mate.
Ahmed is the chairman of Tunasco,which has interests in agriculture, oil and construction.
Rutto's running mate, Mohammed, is chairman of the Mombasa chapter.