The Kwale county government has announced 30 days extension of tax waivers to cushion businesses from the economic slowdown occasioned by the coronavirus outbreak.
The move announced by Governor Salim Mvurya on Monday comes after the earlier 60-day waiver aimed at mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic ended last week.
“We are extending a number of business tax waivers due to the impact of the novel coronavirus,” he said while flanked by the County Commissioner (CC), Karuku Ngumo and the County Police Commander (CPC), Joseph Nthenge.
The governor who made the announcement after chairing a COVID-19 meeting at the county headquarters in Kwale town noted that many businesses were still struggling with reduced cash flow due to the emergency health crisis.
Mvurya announced the extension of the waivers on penalties for land rates and interest rates for single businesses, suspension of charges for market entry fees and suspension of market stall fees.
Others include the suspension of monthly parking fees for Matatus, Tuk Tuks, and Boda Bodas and the suspension of the daily parking fees for private motor vehicles.
The governor who co-chairs the county COVID-19 emergency response committee with the CC said the decision to stay the waivers was informed by a poor business environment.
“We have realized it is not yet conducive to withdraw the waivers when we still have the viral disease,” he said, adding that the tax waivers were effected as a relief measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it was not wise to end the tax measures at a time fears of contracting the disease have slowed down socio-economic activities around the country.
Mvurya also announced the reopening of all open-air markets and livestock markets which were closed three months ago as a result of the pandemic.
He added that the reopening of the markets will follow guidelines developed by the public health department.
The governor at the same time thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for lifting the cessation of movement in Kwale on Sunday which was aimed at curbing further spread of COVID-19.
However, the President extended the cessation of movement in Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera but lifted that of Kwale and Kilifi counties following a decline in infections.
He said people should slowly and cautiously resume their socio-economic activities in the wake of the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions which he said had created hardships.
On his part, The CC asked the residents to continue supporting the county and national government efforts in curbing the spread of the disease.
The easing of the coronavirus restrictions does not mean that it is business as usual,” he said adding that people need to abide by all the health guidelines issued by the two levels of government to break the cycle of infections and defeat the disease.
Ngumo said Boda Boda and tuk tuk riders will continue carrying one passenger while wearing of masks is a must.
He added that Matatus will not carry passengers exceeding the recommended number and all should wear a mask.
By Hussein Abdullahi