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Nyong'o eyes tax hikes to meet revenue goals

By Harold Odhiambo | November 6th 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Kisumu Governor Peter Anyang Nyongo.

Tough times await traders and residents of Kisumu after Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s administration proposed new levies in an attempt to widen the revenue base.

Thousands of traders who are still struggling to pick up the pieces after their business premises were recently demolished will be hardest hit if the county assembly adopts the Finance Bill 2019-2020.

The Bill is expected to be presented for debate when the House resumes sittings after recess.

Prof Nyong'o's administration has struggled to meet revenue targets despite automating the tax collection services.

According to the proposals seen by The Standard, the fishing industry will bear the brunt of the new taxes with the introduction of a Sh2,000 fee for fish processing.

Traders seeking to sell fresh fish in the county will also have to pay a new tax of Sh500 up from the current Sh200.

The fishmongers suffered some of the heaviest losses when the county government bulldozed their stalls and eateries in Lwang’ni and Kichinjio beaches as well as Akamba Line.

Street protests

The county is also seeking to raise about Sh30 million from the boda boda industry, whose members have resisted plans to tax them.

An attempt to introduce a Sh500 tax to the more than 71,000 boda boda riders last year resulted in street protests, thus it remains to be seen how the county will enforce this latest directive.

Traders who deal in construction materials will now pay Sh1,000 if they transport more than 15 tonnes of building stones in a single trip.

The health sector has not been spared, either, with the Bill set to increase the cost of giving birth in public hospitals.

While the cost of delivery has been capped at Sh3,000, patients will have to pay Sh500 for each day spent in the maternity wards.

The cost of delivery and an episiotomy (a surgical procedure during child birth) has been increased from Sh1,250 to Sh3,500.

The new charges could deal a blow to the success of the universal health care (UHC) programme that is being piloted in the county.

An investigation by The Standard about a month ago established that some patients are still being asked to pay for their medication.

In the new tax proposals, the county government has introduced a new Sh6,000 levy for a CT scan. The cost of anaesthesia has been capped at Sh2,000 while patients will pay Sh100 for medical dressing.

Reached for comment, Communication Director Aloyce Ager said only patients who don't have UHC cards will pay some of the newly introduced taxes.

Yesterday, a member of the budget committee who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were still reviewing the tax proposals.

“There are recommendations that we received from the Controller of Budget (CoB) and it is in our interest to ensure that we also meet our revenue targets,” said the MCA.

A CoB report seen last month revealed that Kisumu's revenue declined by Sh34 million, falling from Sh876 million in the 2017-18 financial year to Sh842 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Acting Controller of Budget Stephen Masha said under collection of local revenue was hampering implementation of the county's budget.


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