Uhuru’s orders win to traders, says Ngatia
SEE ALSO :KRA destroys contraband worth Sh1.5b“You noticed the involvement of Polycarp Igathe (Equity’s Chief Commercial Officer) during the launch (of my manifesto) where he announced they want to reach out to the business community,” said Ngatia. “The challenge that has been there is that the small business people do not have collateral. We want to negotiate for them with banks,” he said. He said there have been protests by traders against detention of their goods, stating that the standoff occasioned them major losses. According to Ngatia, discussions on the issue that culminated in Uhuru meeting the traders and finally issuing the directive at Madaraka celebrations had been going on for some time. “We seek to support the small trader. The other day we had people protesting over detention of their goods at the Port of Mombasa because of standardisation,” he said. He explained that some of the traders had been caught up in the standoff because of mistakes committed by consolidators. He said several small traders put their goods in one container for shipment, but every time there was a problem with one set of imports, the entire container was held. “It hurts their businesses because some take loans only for their goods to be held,” he said. The former Nairobi KNCCI Chapter chairman also spoke about prohibitive tax regimes, especially in counties where traders end up paying double tax. He proposed a free trade regime between counties to boost trade, create jobs and ensure prosperity by ensuring traders pay tax only in one county and is not charged for goods on transit. Double tax “The issue of double taxation by counties is a major problem facing our traders. Once you pay tax in one county, you should not be forced to pay tax in the next county you use for transit,” he said. The new KNCCI boss is also pushing to have the Government pay SMEs within 90 days of invoicing and is campaigning to have it put into law. He further announced the chamber’s plan to put up industrial parks in all the 47 counties to promote small enterprises and Jua Kali industry across the country. Ngatia said he was seeking to partner with the Government in the project. “We are looking at having industrial parks in all the 47 counties. If we partner with government for instance, the National Cereals and Produce Board has space which we can use to set up a place for the small traders in all the counties,” he said. Ngatia is succeeding the outgoing chamber president, Kiprono Kittony. He said he will seek to unify the chamber and strengthen all the its chapters as he pushes for increased exports and discourage importation of non-essential goods that stifle creativity, enterprise and job creation. The proprietor of Galileos – an entertainment joint in Nairobi – was declared elected unopposed after all his opponents withdrew from the race. James Mureu and Abdulwalli Sharrif, Stephen Mbugua and Laban Onditi pulled out to back Ngatia while Gor Semelang’o withdrew citing personal reasons. “What I want is not just the win but a chamber that is unified. Before I launched my manifesto, I invited my close friends and asked them what I should do to fix the chamber,” he said.
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