Since 1902

Flower farmers agree to pay cess

Nakuru county governor Kinuthia Mbugua receives a cheque of over Sh10.3m from the chairman Lake Naivasha Growers Group Richard Fox as part of cess from flower farmers. The flower farmers have agreed to be paying twenty cents for every kilogram of produce harvested annually. [PHOTO/Antony Gitonga/STANDARD]

The Nakuru County government has struck a deal with flower farmers over the payment of cess after two years of delay.

Under the agreement with the Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG), the flower farmers will be paying 20 cents for every kilogram of produce harvested annually. The farmers have also agreed to clear the two years' debt as the county moved in to enforce the recently enacted finance act. This emerged over the weekend when Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua received a Sh10.3 million cheque from the flower farms for the pending debt.

Mr Mbugua said his government did not want to overburden the group with more taxes as they were already paying 48 different fees. He said his government was engaging other flower farms to start paying cess to the county to improve service delivery.

"We have agreed with the Lake Naivasha Growers Group that it will collect the cess on behalf of the county on quarterly basis from its members," he said.

LNGG Chairman Richard Fox said 22 of the more than 70 flower farms in the county had agreed to pay cess to the county government. Fox said the group would be collecting the cash on behalf of the county government at a premium fee and challenged non-paying farms to comply.

attention on 'Wanjiku'

"Sixty-five per cent of flowers exported from Kenya comes from Naivasha and we have agreed to pay cess to the county government to help improve service delivery," he said.

Finance Committee chairman Njuguna Gichimu said in the last two years, they had not collected cess from the flower farms.

He added that they were working on plans to have the debts cleared, terming the sector as critical to the county's economy.

He, however, expressed concern over the high number of big firms in the county that were not paying taxes to the county government.

"We have put so much attention on 'Wanjiku' and forgotten the big companies, but we want to warn them that their days are numbered," he said.