• Embu County Assembly has stopped Embu county government from arbitrary increasing trade license fees and revert to old charges until a Finance Act is enacted.
• Higher trade license fees blocked in Embu.
Embu county assembly has stopped the county government from increasing fees for trade licenses and revert to old charges.
Deputy speaker Steve Munene told clerk Jim Kauma to write to the Finance and Economic Planning executive Jamleck Muturi to stick to the Finance Act, 2016 until a new one is passed.
Munene said the increase of fees is not grounded on any law since the only document approved by the legislature stipulating the charges to be levied on traders is the Finance Act.
The deputy speaker said the basis for the higher charges are illegal.
Munene said the Finance Committee will be allocated time this month to finalise the Finance Bill 2018 before the 2019-2020 budget is tabled in the assembly for the county government to have guidelines to raise revenue.
He, however, warned the committee that further delays on the legislation will not be condoned.
Kagaari South MCA Robert Ireri, who had sought a statement on the status of the Finance Bill, urged the speaker to give a timeframe within which the document will be presented to the assembly for debate.
He said that traders are suffering over inflated charges, yet the same monies are not reflected in revenue collected and remitted to the county treasury.
Finance Committee chairman Morris Muchiri said the enactment of the bill has been hampered because the assembly has been busy deliberating on the County Integrated Development Plan, the Annual Development Plan County Fiscal Strategy Paper and the 2019-2020 budget.
Ireri, however, pledged to ensure that the bill is legislated in the shortest time possible. But he sought the authority of the speaker to engage all MCAs in polishing the document and conduct public participation.
Mbeti North MCA Peter Murithi, who is a member of the committee, said ensuring the document is flawless is a daunting task.
Muminji MCA Newton Kariuki urged the Finance Committee to move with speed to put the Finance Bill in place to cushion Embu traders from exorbitant charges by revenue collectors.
He called on the speaker to take punitive action against the committee or even consider abolishing it altogether if the legislation is not tabled within the month.
Evurore MCA Duncan Mbui said it is immoral for revenue collectors to arbitrarily decide the levies they will charge traders because the county did not have an approved Finance Bill to guide the rates.
Mbui said the situation interferes with the county assembly's work useless since it exists to make laws that would improve the livelihoods of residence.