Traders petition Taita Taveta assembly to review tax law

Granton Samboja. /FILE
Granton Samboja. /FILE

A group of traders in Taita Taveta have petitioned the county assembly over the Finance Act 2018.

Filing the petition on behalf of the traders, Morris Mutiso, a businessman, asked the assembly to amend the Act to ensure equity and fairness in the tax system.

There have been protests in many markets since Governor Granton Samboja assented to the Bill last week.

Last week, business at Voi highway market was paralysed as hundreds of traders protested against high taxes introduced by the county government.

Similar incidents were witnessed in Taveta modern market on Wednesday, with traders clashing with police and county enforcement officers who had gone to effect the new rates.

They vowed to abandon business until the Act is revised. Mutiso said there was no public participation among interested groups and key stakeholders during the making of the Bill.

“The petitioner further prays that the county assembly find that the public participation principle is not an event but a continuous process from the formulation of the Finance Bill to the implementation of Finance Act,” the petition reads.

He further petitioned the county assembly to amend the Finance Act 2018 and scrap the licence fees for community managed water projects, individual pump users and irrigation schemes.

“The county assembly should amend the Act to retain the market fees as has been levied before the implementation of the Finance Act 2018 or incorporate a reasonable revision of 10 – 20 per cent," Mutiso said.

"It should also revise licence fees to Sh1,000 for small traders.”

In last week’s press statement jointly signed by Finance executive Vincent Masawi and his Trade counterpart Getrude, the county officials urged those aggrieved by the new Act to channel their petitions to the office of the governor and the county assembly.

“It is important for the public to be reminded that we need to pay various fees and charges as contained in the Act to be able to offer services like health, roads, and bursaries,” the statement read.