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VAS

Flower producers to pay revenue in proposed law

RIFT VALLEY
By Kennedy Gachuhi | October 28th 2021
A worker at Maridadi Flower Farm in Naivasha prepares roses for export. Majority of flower producers are based in the area. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Nakuru County Assembly has introduced a fee on flowers to boost its revenue collections.

The assembly passed the Nakuru County Flowers Service Charge Bill, 2020, which if signed into law by the governor, will allow the county to collect one per cent of gross sales.

“Proceeds of the charge will be used for infrastructural development of the area where the revenue was collected,” says the proposed law.

“They may, however, be used for any other lawful purpose of benefit to the flower producer or seller.”

Data from the Directorate of Horticulture indicates that the country earned Sh50 billion from the sale of flowers between January and June, a drop from Sh58 billion earned in the same period last year.

It is estimated that Nakuru County, whose most flower farms are in Naivasha, produces 60 per cent of the total flowers in the country, translating to Sh30 billion for six months.

A charge of one per cent on such sales would have seen the county earn nearly Sh300 million.

“There shall be a seven-member Flower Service Charge Committee tasked with managing collection and deliberate on projects to which the funds will be applied,” the Bill reads.

The proposed law provides that the service charge shall be deducted on the monies payable to the producer or seller, and remitted to the county government on the 20th day of the following month.

“Any flower processing plant which fails to comply with the provisions of this Bill commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million,” the Bill adds.

Flower processing plants will be required to keep records on the mass of flowers and charge deductions made and retain them for at least seven years which the county shall have the right to access to verify compliance.

While seconding the Bill sponsored by Kibet Kurgat, Deputy Majority Whip Isaac Wahome noted that the new charge will go a long way in improving infrastructure within target areas.

“Some of the flowers producing areas are served with roads that turn an eyesore during heavy rains. The Bill has come at the right time to enable the county to serve our producers better,” said Wahome.

Nominated member Jane Maina said the new source of revenue would boost the county in its development plans as various urban centres have their status elevated.

“Most flowers are produced in areas that are to be upgraded into municipalities. Such areas need a serious facelift, and the millions to be collected through the service charge will be instrumental in realizing these dreams,” she said.

Mr Kurgat, the vice-chair of the Finance Committee, said that the benefits of the service charge would trickle down to the rest of the population.

“In some of the areas, the county government has already upgraded the infrastructure. The Bill leaves room for approval of the funds to be used for other purposes if the county had used other resources on infrastructure in such areas,” he said.

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