At least 3,000 residents of Vihiga County have signed memos asking for changes in the Vihiga County Finance Bill 2018 because of unwarranted increase in levies.
If the Bill is passed, fishmongers will have to part with Sh50 daily (for medium-sized fish) up from Sh30. The taxes will also apply to vendors of sukuma wiki, representing a 67 per cent increase.
Traders selling sweet potatoes upto 120 kilogrammes will be forced to pay Sh100 up from Sh60 to the county. The same levies will apply to Irish potato traders who sell the produce in quantities of between 51 and 120 kilogrammes.
And for products which previously did not attract levies, vendors will part with Sh120 for tomatoes and Sh50 for potatoes of quantities below 50 kilogrammes.
Never consulted us
Charcoal, ice cream and sausage traders will pay Sh50 per day instead of the usual Sh20.
“These new levies are punitive. The county government never consulted us,” Adelaide Ingaitsa, who sells vegetables and fruits in Kaimosi, said.
She has been paying Sh30 per day but may be forced to part with more than Sh150 if all her wares are subjected to the proposed levies.
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Angela Ombalo, a fishmonger in Mbale market, said the new levies may force her to close down.
“The county authorities are assuming that turnover for the goods we sell is high. In reality it takes me two to three weeks to clear stock (one basket). Yet I have to pay levies every day. This Bill will make it harder to sustain our lives,” Ms Ombalo said.
The fishmonger was among residents who attended the governance training by the Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace, working in partnership with Agile and Harmonised Assistance for Devolved institutions programme, on public participation as a civic duty.