Relief for traders as counties resolve to stop multiple levies

Council of Governors(COG) Chair Martin Wambora at Delta Towers, Nairobi, on May 12, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenyans doing cross border business will be exempted from multiple levies charged on goods following a deal hammered after a consultative forum between the county and national government.

On Wednesday, a meeting between the Council of Governors (CoG) and the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICCC) at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete resolved to restrict such charges to the county of origin.

This will save traders and businesses from cess (a form of tax charged over and above the base tax of a taxpayer) and other fees levied by county governments.

The meeting convened by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i noted that the exemption of levies will ensure ease of doing business across the counties.

“It would be very ideal and important for businesses if all they need is a single permit receipt that allows them to move goods freely across counties," said Dr Matiang’i, who chairs the NDICCC.

He added: "The implementation of the county governments consensus on one-off charges was long overdue. I challenge the county governments to extend the consideration to tourism and other services sectors."

CoG chairperson and Embu Governor Martin Wambora said that the move would boost business in the 47 county governments. 

“The move will benefit our farmers who have had to endure double taxation. It will also spur private investments in the counties,” said Wambora.

The Ministry of Trade and CoG will meet to develop an agreement for the 47 governors' signatures.

The deal targets traders who ferry goods across the county borders and who have to part with money for various charges independently demanded by counties. The charges are passed to consumers thereby raising the cost of goods.

The meeting also agreed to harmonise the Road Maintenance Fuel Levy Allocation to facilitate the maintenance of county roads.

The meeting also deliberated on the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Amendment Bill that seeks to reform the public insurer to make it more responsive o the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) rollout.

This was the third meeting since President Uhuru Kenyatta formed the committee to spearhead the implementation of government projects.

In a message delivered by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua on behalf of President Kenyatta, he urged national and county governments to deepen their consultative nature to expedite the delivery of services to the public.

The meeting also discussed the effective roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines and reforming the agricultural sector through auditing regulations within the sector.

The CoG is scheduled to meet Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya next week over the said reforms.

There was confusion when two governors showed up for the meeting to represent Wajir county resulting in the ejection of impeached governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud.

Governor Ali Ahmed Muktar blasted CoG for frustrating him.

“The CoG wants to install a governor that is theirs. I respect the old man but if he wants to misbehave and attend a meeting that he should not then I have no respect for him,” said Muktar.