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’
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.
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