Bar owners in Diani municipality, Msambweni sub-county of Kwale got a major reprieve Tuesday when area Governor Salim Mvurya directed that business rates be reviewed downwards.
They will see a reduction in their business rates in two weeks’ time once the review is complete.
Mvurya said the move is informed by the poor business environment and is aimed at cushioning businesses from the economic slowdown occasioned by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The bar owners had requested for a meeting with the county government officials after new levies were recently introduced as coronavirus continues to impact trade.
“These new rates were introduced after Diani and Kwale were made municipalities but we want to be proactive and flexible,” said the Governor.
The local Bar Owners Association through their Chairman Richard Osongo had asked the Mvurya administration to intervene and have the rates lowered since their businesses had not picked up following the effects of the coronavirus pandemics.
Osongo said bars, nightclubs and restaurants are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak and welcomed the directive to review the rates downward as they currently operate in an incredibly difficult time.
Governor Mvurya accepted their request and directed county revenue officers to charge the old and lower rates until such a time that the business environment would have improved.
“From today, I direct my revenue staff to continue charging you the old rates until business is back to normal after the coronavirus effects,” said the Governor amid cheering from the business people present.
Governor Mvurya who was accompanied by his Deputy Fatuma Achani said that his regional administration is committed to making sure all business is charged fair rates so as to cope with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Many businesses were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and we will ensure that a conducive environment for business is accorded to all business people in Kwale. It is our duty and responsibility to create a conducive environment for investment and a level playground for all,” said Mvurya.
He said his administration will continue to endeavor to ensure a conducive environment for businesspeople and would take deliberate measures in response to Covid-19 crisis to support businesses with cash flow problems.
On her part Achani urged all the business owners from the county to seek assistance from the county leadership whenever problems arise, and to keep the peace.
The two leaders hailed the business community for promoting peace, coexistence and unity among them and urged them to invest more in Kwale.
In attendance were the County Secretary Martin Mwaro, County Executive Committee Member for Tourism Nassib Nyahi and Diani Municipality Manager Hamisi Mwandaro among other senior county staff.
by Hussein Abdullahi