Kiambu County traders are relieved lot after the County government cushioned them from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic through providing solutions to enable them get loans at reduced interest rates, introduction of tax exemptions and penalty waivers.
Governor James Nyoro said they have partnered with a local bank to subsidize interest on loans hence lower them from 13 per cent to 7 per cent interest rate.
He said they have deposited Sh138 million at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) so as to leverage Sh1.5 billion loan to locals.
“We have a board that will be vetting those taking the loans to indemnify them against requirement for collateral. We have also approached development partners and philanthropic organizations to subsidize the interest rates further to even 3 per cent. The aim is to encourage people to borrow to restart their businesses. A lot of people lost their businesses during the first wave and are hit hard in this third wave given that the county is among the five disease infected zones,” Nyoro said during a press briefing in Thika.
The county has also waived all taxes on small scale traders, market levies for those trading in livestock and bus park fees for all public transport vehicles including Boda bodas and Tuk tuks.
For Matatus operators, 60 per cent of their regular requisite payments have also been waived with land owners having been cleared off 100 per cent penalties for accrued annual tax rates as at December 2020.
Barber shops, salons, general shops, shoe shiners, kiosks, and M-Pesa traders will also enjoy waiver of penalties imposed for non-compliance.
Traders in various markets among them Ruiru, Juja, Jamhuri, Githurai, Kihara and Madaraka termed the move as a great relief following the major struggles they have been dealing with as a result of Covid-19.
Led by George Kamau, the traders said the tax holiday will cushion that from the hardships of operations.
“It was no longer affordable to continue paying these levies as our businesses were recording reduced profits,” said Kamau.
By Muoki Charles