URGED TO REDUCE LICENCES

Kakamega proposes new charges in finance bill to raise Sh2bn

Additional charges are likely to trigger protests by tracers and residents.

In Summary

• Some of the new fees the county proposes to charge include annual fees for businesses such as supermarkets and filling stations. 

• It, however, proposes a reduction of fees for approval of school layout plans and registration

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at the county general hospital
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at the county general hospital
Image: HILTON OTENYO

The Kakamega government's Finance Bill 2021 has introduced new charges aimed at raising its own revenue to Sh2 billion.

Although most of the existing charges were retained and others increased slightly, new fees may trigger protests by tracers and residents.

Some of the new charges the county has proposed include annual fees for businesses like supermarkets and filling stations. 

Others are for gold mining, gold refining and gold buying centres, private learning institutions, daycare centres, private morgues, motorcycles,  tuk tuks, lorries, canters, trailers and bus companies, ambulance services and grain stores.

Distributors will also have to pay the county government, unlike in the past when they paid nothing.

The county government projects to collect over Sh2 billion from its own sources this financial year. The revenue will go towards financing of its Sh16 billion budget.

In the last financial year, the county collected Sh1.6 billion.

The county assembly has invited the public to submit their views and memoranda on the bill on Monday at the county social hall in line with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kakamega branch chairman Wycliffe Kibisu said the county should reduce multiple licences and revert to the original single business permit to spur growth.

The chamber wants the county to come up with a plan for payment of licences of up to six instalments to avoid capital crunches for businesses and encourage SMEs growth.

“The county government should consider a 50 per cent reduction in licence fees to stimulate businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic period," Kibisu said.

He said a well-structured tax and levies plan can promote economic growth, create jobs, lessen extreme inequalities, fund delivery of Vision 2030 and the delivery of Sustainable Development Goals.

Fire compliance charges have been increased in the proposed bill. Small businesses will now pay Sh3,500 up from Sh2,000 last year in rural areas and Sh6,000 up from Sh5,000 in municipalities.

Those who wish to place containers for use as business premises will pay Sh7,000 and Sh10,000 for 20-f00t and 40-foot containers respectively in rural areas, and Sh12,000 and Sh15,000 for 20-foot and 40-foot containers respectively in municipalities.

The bill, however, proposes a reduction of fees for approval of school layout plans and registration from Sh35,000 in rural areas, Sh40,000 in urban areas and Sh50,000 in municipalities to Sh10,000, 15,000 and Sh20,000 respectively.

This is meant to spur investments in the education sector to ease congestion in existing institutions. 

Edited by A.N