Boda bodas cry foul over plan to have them pay levies

Taxi and boda boda operators in Kisumu and Migori counties have protested plans by the county governments to impose levies on their operations.

More than 71, 000 motorcycle operators in Kisumu have warned Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o against assenting to the Finance Bill seeking to have them pay monthly levies.

This week, Kisumu County Assembly passed the Finance Bill 2017 which proposed that motorcycle operators be charged Sh500 per month and bicycle operators pay the county government Sh200 per month.

In Migori County, Governor Okoth Obado has announced that his government will, beginning October, charge parking fees on personal cars in major towns in Migori and introduce levies on the operations of boda boda and taxis in Migori Town.

INCREASE REVENUE

Speaking during the official opening of the county assembly earlier in the week, Mr Obado said that the move will enhance smooth flow of traffic, especially in Migori town, besides increasing revenue streams.

“During our campaigns, I am aware that my government gave tax rebates to boda boda and taxi operators; however, to improve revenue streams which are paramount to economic development of this county, we plan to expand revenue streams by introducing personal car parking fees and boda boda operations levies at very affordable levels,” said Mr Obado.

Even as Mr Obado assured the affected groups of the affordability of the levies, boda boda and taxi operators, who will bear the brunt of the levies, have protested the new move maintaining that it will adversely affect their businesses.

“We are already suffering in the hands of police who collect money from us every every single day and now the government wants to introduce more levies. Why is the government imposing too many levies yet we do not know how the money is used?” posed Mr John Onyango Ogutu, a boda boda operator in Migori Town.

CARTELS

Migori town boda boda association chairman, Mr Charles Omondi,  said by introducing the new levies, the county government is opening avenues for corruption cartels that will be living off the sweat of the boda boda and the taxi operators.

“This move will result in just a clever way of creating avenues for corruption cartels to blossom and benefit a few people while crippling our business. We will not allow that to happen,” said Mr Omondi, adding that he will mobilise his members to stage protests to stop the move.

Mr Nelson Odire, Chairman of the Kisumu County Boda boda Riders Co-operative Union said they were not involved in the changes by the ward reps despite the assembly members insisting that public participation for the bill took place.

“The governor must not sign the bill into law until we sit down and agree on a number of issues affecting the sector,” said Mr Odire.

The bodaboda official said the assembly members should have passed a bill that guides the sector and recognises the sector before bringing new levies.

“We are not saying we should not be paying taxes, but the ward reps are imposing rates yet the county government has not put necessary measures to strengthen the bodaboda sector in the county,” Mr Odire said.

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