Patients in Siaya to pay for food in Orengo's new tax proposals

Siaya Governor James Orengo at KICC in Nairobi on July 13, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Patients in public hospitals and matatu operators are among those who will be hard hit as the county of Siaya introduces new taxes while increasing some of the existing ones as Governor James Orengo seeks to raise Sh600 million in local revenue this financial year.

The governor is also seeking to raise property rates as he seeks to achieve his Own Source Revenue (OSR) in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024.

Bus park charges are expected to go up, a cost Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) are likely to pass down to passengers.

The new measures, which are contained in Siaya County Finance Bill 2023, are among the proposals by Orengo’s government, and include the introduction of daily charges for food for in-patients in public hospitals. The patients will now part with Sh300 per day, which was not initially there. Currently, the hospitals are charging for only beds, at Sh350 per day.

Admission fee for bodies within a hospital will attract Sh3, 000 up from Sh2, 000, while bodies from without will be charged Sh3, 500 from Sh2, 000 in the new proposals.

If approved by the county assembly, bodies recovered from rivers will attract an admission fee of Sh3, 500 while embalming will cost Sh5, 000 per body.

Bodies from within and outside the hospital will be charged Sh400 per day from Sh300 in the new proposals that are set to be subjected to public scrutiny.

Postmortem charges will be increased from Sh10, 000 to Sh15, 000. Those seeking ambulance services within the county, on their own request, will pay Sh3, 500 up from Sh2, 500.

The bill proposes to increase the bed charges in ICU from Sh1, 000 to Sh3, 500 while admission fee from within or through referrals will attract an increment of Sh2, 500, to Sh30, 000 and Sh3, 000 to Sh35, 000 respectively.

To be buried in the county government cemetery as an adult residing in the county, the proposed fee is Sh10, 000 from Sh2, 000.

Local brewers will be required to pay Sh15, 000 to apply for a license according to the Siaya County Alcoholic Drink Act, 2016.

However, people living with disability holding exemption certificates will be exempted up to 50 per cent of the Alcoholic Drink License.

The new proposals give reprieve to fish cage farmers, who will now pay Sh5, 000 from Sh12, 500 for owning between 1-5 cages. Those with 10-35 cages will also pay Sh10, 000 down from Sh50, 000 in the previous financial year.

As part of the new charges, emission of noise and vibrations without a noise licensing using sound amplifying device will attract a penalty of Sh5, 000 per instance.

Undeveloped commercial plots that are unmaintained within municipalities and established market centres will be penalized four per cent of the land value.

Boda boda operators will be slapped with a fine of Sh50, 000 or imprisonment for a period of one year or both for setting up any unauthorized stage.