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Nakuru County Assembly proposes the harmonization of business levies

The County Assembly of Nakuru has proposed the introduction of a single business permit to ease the cost of doing business in the County.

Shabab Ward Member of the County Assembly Macharia Wathiai called for the harmonization of various permits meant for business people in the county, into a cheaper one for ease of administration.

He said harmonization of the various permits would greatly help in improving ease of doing business in Nakuru, adding that the city’s strategic location presents a huge potential for a global hub in the region for shopping, logistics, trade, industry, technology, innovation, financial services, investment banking, travel, tourism, sports, arts, theatre, culture and vibrant urban lifestyles.

“By fast tracking reforms in tax regime and levies, we will transform this city into a global business hub,” said Wathiai.

He said the county government should be committed to eliminating incidences where businesses incur costs in multiple permits and licenses over and above the single business permit.

While contributing to a debate on Governor Susan Kihika’s address made to the Assembly last week, Wathiai said there was an urgent need to review a multiplicity of levies and taxes that are affecting the devolved unit’s intra-county and inter-county trade, thereby discouraging investments, while raising prices for the consumer.

He proposed that the County pursue policies and strategies that will make Nakuru the economic powerhouse of the region, thereby making it the destination of choice where trade and investment thrives.

Waithiai proposed deliberate interventions to reduce the cost of doing business, a move he said would position Nakuru as an essential destination for local and foreign investments.

During the Wednesday afternoon session chaired by County Speaker Mr Joel Karuri Maina, Baruti Ward MCA Ben Kirui called for completion of multi-million-shilling projects started by the previous administration, including full activation of new health facilities.

He said new governance structures should be created to guide the implementation of other projects, adding that the devolved unit should prioritize installation of solar power at boreholes in the county to alleviate acute water shortages.

Mau Narok MCA Silas Ndegwa said that though the previous Assembly passed a motion seeking to enforce the rule on potato packaging in the recommended gunny bags, middlemen were still exploiting farmers.

The law on packaging was first introduced in the country through the Crop Production and Livestock Act of 2005.

But according to Ndegwa, the law only worked for a year as farmers found themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous brokers who pack potatoes in sacks that exceed the 110kg capacity.

“Due to the broker patronage, the farmers usually pack potatoes in bags of more than 250kgs for as little as Sh1, 200 occasioning huge losses considering the high cost of production,” said Ndegwa.

According to the motion, law breakers packaging potatoes exceeding the capacity shall be fined Sh10, 000 or jailed for a term not exceeding three months or both.

The practice, according to Ndegwa, was affecting small-scale farmers because they don’t have the capacity to sell their produce independently.

Maela Ward MCA Jane Gituku noted that poor pay was partly to blame for the shortage of Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) teachers, as some are opting for other lucrative jobs in non-governmental organizations and other sectors.

Gituku said the pay discrepancy among ECDE teachers should be addressed urgently to ensure all ECDE teachers in the country receive pay commensurate with their qualifications.

By Esther Mwangi and Charloth Chepkemoi

 

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