Kwale county introduces punitive taxes to regulate muguka, miraa trade

Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani. [Robert Menza, Standard] 

Kwale county government has introduced punitive levies in the Finance Act 2024 in efforts to regulate muguka and miraa business.

The County Finance Act was enacted last week and will see a lorry ferrying the crops charged Sh50,000 up from Sh10,000 while a truck with capacity to transport 15 tonnes will be charged Sh300,000.

Traders transporting muguka on motorcycles will pay Sh30,000 up from Sh3000.

Governor Fatuma Achani has signed the County Finance Bill 2024 into law after it was approved by Kwale County Assembly.

Achani seeks to mitigate the adverse effects of muguka and miraa consumption.

The cash crops are regarded as a threat to mental health in the region. The new measures took effect yesterday.

The county administration has also banned the sale of muguka and miraa near schools.

Governor Achani has insisted that the measures are crucial in regulating muguka and miraa consumption and protecting the youth from potential health hazards.

"Lowering taxes can lead to increased consumption of harmful substances, which could have detrimental effects on the health of young generations," she said.

County authorities, in collaboration with the assembly and County Attorney Salim Gombeni, are set to implement additional regulations to further restrict the sale and distribution of muguka and miraa.

"The office of the County Attorney, Salim Gombeni in collaboration with the County Assembly to formulate regulations limiting the sale of muguka and miraa," she said. 

These regulations will prohibit the sale of muguka near schools, religious institutions and local markets.

Designated areas for muguka and miraa trade and pick up points from source regions will be established.

Meanwhile, the Coast-based Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) yesterday urged President William Ruto to handle the muguka issue instead of leaving it to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.

The party claimed that Linturi has vested interests that could make it impossible for him to address the issue.

PAA Secretary General Lucas Maitha said Coast leaders will only attend a meeting on muguka convened by the president.

Maitha claimed that the CS will be biased and he will not take a neutral stand during the meeting since he hails from miraa and muguka growing region.

"Linturi hails from muguka and miraa growing region and he has a vested interest in the crops," he argued.

He spoke during a press briefing at Hotel Sapphire in Mombasa county.

Maitha was flanked by Rabai MP Anthony Kenga and his Ganze counterpart Charo Kazungu.

He told muguka traders to distribute the stimulant in the Mt Kenya region instead of dumping it in the Coast region saying it has negative effects on youths.

“Muguka has ruined the youths in this region. The government should stop muguka from coming to the Coast to save our youths,” he said.

Maitha said PAA supports the decision to ban muguka in Mombasa, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties and urged other Coastal counties to follow suit.