Trade CS urges coun­ties to re­lax tax laws to at­tract in­vestors

Says many traders com­plain they lose a lot of money to coun­ties. ‘Some traders say they move through 10 coun­ties and the money they leave in each county is a lot’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Western - JOHN NALIANYA @jon­a­liash

Coun­ties have been urged to re­lax their tax­a­tion laws and sys­tems to at­tract in­vestors.

In­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion CS Adan Mo­hamed said on Wed­nes­day that many busi­ness­men are afraid to in­vest be­cause of the in­creased taxes and levies im­posed by the coun­ties.

He said in­vestors, es­pe­cially lo­cal ones, are in­creas­ingly frus­trated with the levies im­posed by coun­ties.

“Re­lax some of these taxes im­posed on trade and you will see in­creased trade in the coun­ties. We know peo- ple have been com­plain­ing about how much they end up los­ing in levies to coun­ties,” Mo­hamed said.

He spoke dur­ing the open­ing of the Bun­goma In­ter­na­tional In­vest­ment Con­fer­ence. The con­fer­ence started yes­ter­day and will end to­mor­row.

Mo­hamed said many traders have com­plained to his of­fice that they lose a lot of money to coun­ties while mov­ing goods to and from the Port of Mom­basa. “Some traders said they move through 10 coun­ties and the money they leave in each county is a lot and this is dis­cour­ag­ing them,” he said.

The CS also said coun­ties should not only fo­cus on for­eign in­vestors, but also give the lo­cal ones an equal op- por­tu­nity to con­duct busi­ness.

“Coun­ties should make it friend­lier and eas­ier for busi­nesses to op­er­ate and ev­ery in­vestor, whether lo­cal or for­eign, should be given an equal op­por­tu­nity,” Mo­hamed said.

He said Kenya has been ranked the third most im­proved coun­try in Africa in terms of hav­ing a good busi­ness work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

The sur­vey con­ducted in 189 coun­tries has showed that Kenya has im­proved in the ar­eas of do­ing busi­nesses, the CS said. “In the last one year, Kenya has im­proved from num­ber 92 to 44 in the World Bank devel­op­ment in­dex, which is com­mend­able. Kenyans should work hard in busi­ness to en­able the coun­try move higher next year,” Mo­hamed said.

Bun­goma Gov­er­nor Ken­neth Lusaka said they are plan­ning to re­view and re­vise county taxes to boost in­vestors’ con­fi­dence. He said they are also try­ing to seal loop­holes al­low­ing for dou­ble tax­a­tion.

“We are seal­ing ar­eas where we lose our rev­enue and thus avoid dou­ble tax­a­tion on traders,” Lusaka said.

He said au­to­ma­tion of rev­enue col­lec­tion is a key area for re­duc­ing rev­enue loss. Lusaka said the coun­ties face fi­nan­cial prob­lems in start­ing ma­jor projects. “We know we have fund­ing deficits in ma­jor devel­op­ment projects. Through col­lab­o­rat­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor, we know we will achieve our goals,” he said.

/BRIAN OJAMAA

Bun­goma county in­vest­ment di­rec­tor Treeza Nakhungu, woman rep Regi­nalda Wany­onyi, Gov­er­nor Ken­neth Lusaka, In­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion CS Adan Mo­hamed, Kenya Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chair­man Kiprono Kit­tony and Deputy Gov­er­nor Hil­lary Chong­wony on Wed­nes­day

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