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Transporters complain that multiple taxation killing business in Kiambu

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Mon, March 13th 2017 at 11:59, Updated March 13th 2017 at 12:27 GMT +3

Governor William Kabogo assisted by Chairman of Truckers Association of Kenya Daniel Kimani(left)and The Chairman of the newly launched Trabuma Sacco Cosmos Mwenda cut a cake. (Photo: Kamau Maichuhuie/Standard)

Transporters of building materials have complained that they were incurring heavy losses because of multiple taxation by counties.

Those ferrying sand, ballast, and stones from Machakos, Murang’a, Nakuru, Kajiado, and Nairobi counties said they incur losses because each devolved unit is taxing them.

Those who spoke during the launch of the Trabuma Transporters Sacco in Juja at the weekend demanded that they be allowed to pay levy only once, to the county of origin of the product.

Truckers Association of Kenya Chairman Daniel Kimani said his organisation’s efforts to stop counties from demanding taxes for the same product have failed.

“If you are taking sand from Machakos to Kajiado, you must pay cess in all the counties you pass through. This is taking a toll on us and the business is increasingly becoming untenable,” Kimani said.

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He added that the many levies have discouraged many people from venturing into the transport business.

The chairman of Trabuma Sacco, Mr Cosmas Mwenda, urged the Kiambu government to initiate talks with the neighbouring counties to agree on one charge.

“We are suffering because of all the levies we are required to pay to all counties. We hope the issue will be looked into to alleviate our suffering,” said Mr Mwenda.

Governor William Kabogo, who was the chief guest at the launch, termed the multiple levies unfair and bad for business.

He said his administration was ready to forego the transit levies to cushion the transporters from what he termed as unwarranted expenses.

“I will be engaging with my counterparts in Machakos, Nairobi, Nakuru, Murang’a, and Kajiado over the matter to see if we can have one levy by all the counties. I’m sure we will come up with the way forward,” said Kabogo.

Last year, more than 200 transporters went on strike to protest at what they termed as increased charges by the Machakos county government.

Uncontrolled mining of stones and sand, fulled by Kenya’s booming construction industry, has contributed to the destruction of the environment.

Expanding has also put pressure on agricultural land and other sources of sand, prompting sand harvesters to invade farms for the commodity.

Many years of uncontrolled sand mining in riverbeds have depleted sand deposits in rivers in many counties.

The transporters said the new charges were unsustainable since they are required to pay extra levies to other counties.

Mr Isaiah Onsongo, a manager with the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) said, the axle load control department wants transporters to embrace self-regulation.

Noting that the country does not have enough weighbridges to ensure that trucks carry the required weight, Mr Onsongo said: “Regulating yourselves is the surest way to ensure your business is not interrupted every now and then because you are carrying excess load.

“Through your saccos, you can enforce the stipulated rules and regulations. This will mean you help take care of our roads,” he added.