Traders in Mandera have opposed plans by the county government to increase licence fees.
They said yesterday the amount they currently pay is already high and they should not be subjected to additional prohibitive charges.
Single-permit businesses will now pay Sh13,000 up from Sh7,000. This is almost double the amount.
Chairman Abdille Billow accused the county of introducing changes without consultation. He said the 2018-19 Finance Bill did not meet the legal requirements as no public participation forums were organised.
“We have deliberated on the proposed levies and we have come to the conclusion that we will not pay until a mutual agreement is reached between the county government and us” he said.
“We demand that this bill be revised and public participation be carried out by the right people.”
Billow’s deputy Abdirahim Issack urged the county government to suspend the implementation of the law until a consensus is reached.
“We ask the county government to continue collecting revenues based on the previous law until all outstanding issues are ironed out,” he said.
Quarry owners will now be paying Sh50,000 for permits. They have been parting with Sh20,000.
“Quarrying was closed in Mandera by the national government and it is surprising that the county government is asking us to pay Sh50,000 for permits and another Sh7,000 for every trip from the mines,” Alio Madey said.
Owners of buses plying the Mandera-Nairobi route have not been left out. They will pay Sh15,000 up from Sh5,000.
At the slaughterhouse managed by the county government, butchers will pay Sh1,100 for every camel slaughtered, Sh600 for every cattle and Sh225 for a goat.
The traders threatened to seek court orders to stop implementation of the taxes if Governor Ali Roba’s administration goes on with the plan.
But county assembly Budget committee chairman Abdirahman Alio defended the new charges. He urged the business community to understand “the situation in which the county operates”.
Alio said the county is keen on increasing its revenues to support development projects. He called for calm and appealed to the traders to comply so residents can reap the fruits of devolution.
“I don’t see anything wrong with that bill. Our people need to understand that these funds will still come back to them in one way or the other,” he said.
The MCA downplayed claims of widespread opposition, saying only a small proportion of traders are against the proposal.
“It is surprising to see that it is only the Mandera East business community that is complaining when other subcounties have accepted the changes. Local revenue is used by the National Treasury as a determinant of the funds distributed to the counties. We have to achieve it.”