Tough times ahead as Siaya County proposes tax increase

Siaya Governor James Orengo when he took county leadership from immediate former governor Cornel Rasanga. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Residents are staring at tougher times as Governor James Orengo's administration mulls new revenue streams to finance the county's 2022/2023 budget.

The new plan is also pegged on the need to boost local revenue, which has been low and has been a concern of the Office of the Controller of Budget. The county hopes to raise Sh580 million from local revenues to finance its Sh8 billion budget this year.

Mr Orengo's administration has proposed an increase in some taxes and the introduction of new ones.

Residents could pay more for single business permits in some sectors, while the administration proposes to charge Sh5,000 fee on anyone planning to erect containers on private land. Those seeking to put containers next to institutions will pay Sh3,000 if the plan is approved.

Companies seeking to erect communication masts or boosters will also have to part with Sh300,000 annually. The levy is a new tax being introduced by the devolved unit. A Sh20,000 penalty on developments has also been introduced.

The county government also plans to introduce parking charges for different types of vehicles with amounts ranging from Sh200 to Sh6,500. PSV saccos will pay Sh100,000 while Taxi saccos will part with Sh40,000 annually.

Buses seeking overnight parking in the county will pay Sh500 per night.

The proposals contained in Finance Draft Bill also proposes that wholesalers and supermarkets pay Sh108,000 for single business permits.

Hearse service operators will pay from Sh7,000 to Sh15,000 depending on the number of vehicles one has.

For the permits, private mortuaries with a capacity of over 51 bodies will attract a fee of Sh25,000 annually.

Dog and pig farmers have also been slapped with up to Sh4,000 licences, while poultry farmers with one to 50 birds will pay Sh2,500.

Governor Orengo is also looking to get a piece of underdeveloped commercial plots at Sh20,000 per year.

Electronic shops are set to pay a minimum of Sh3,500 depending on the location of business premises.

According to the proposals, outside catering services with 15 employees and above will be forced to pay an annual fee of Sh15,000. Also slapped with high taxes are scrap metal dealers. They will pay between Sh40,000 and Sh80,000 per year depending on the number of employees they have.

Cage fish farmers owning between one and five cages will pay Sh12,500 while those with more than 10 will pay Sh50,000.

Brick makers will be required to get a permit at a fee of Sh1,500 per annum.

A 90kg sack of charcoal will attract Sh50 fee for a movement permit.

Excessive noise and use of sound systems will attract a fee of Sh3,000 per day for promotions, sales or entertainment. Public address operators will also be required to pay an annual fee of Sh1,500.

Some taxes, however, has not been increased. Embalming at the Siaya County Referral Hospital will Sh3,400 and Sh1,500 for adults and children.

The proposals, which are yet to be subjected to public scrutiny, come amid an audit exercise on the county workforce, pending bills and revenue utilisation by former governor, Cornel Rasanga's administration.

Last week, Governor Orengo appointed a seven-member team to evaluate the county's human resources.

In a letter dated September 22, Mr Orengo said the committee will also carry out a forensic audit of revenue administration with an emphasis on the last two fiscal years.

The county government has traditionally failed to meet its revenue targets and the new taxes are expected to help cure the problem.