Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his wife Lilian Njenga. His directive to scrap daily levies charged on small-scale traders has caught many by surprise. [File, Standard]
Small-scale traders will from today enjoy an indefinite tax holiday after the county waived all taxes on their operations.
The county government has also declared it will not increase fees on Single Business Permits, and directed all penalties imposed on defaulters to be lifted.
In a move that is seen as an attempt to woo the traders ahead of the August 8 election, Governor Alfred Mutua yesterday declared that the decision to stop taxing small-scale earners would stand as long as he is the governor of Machakos.
“This plan is not temporary. It will last up to 2022 for as long as I am the governor of Machakos. Our aim is to protect the vulnerable members of the business community and grow our local economy,” said Dr Mutua.
He directed the department of Finance and Revenue Management as well as all revenue collection agencies to immediately stop collecting revenues from hawkers, small-scale vegetable retailers, cereals vendors as well as second-hand clothes (mitumba) traders.
Also waived are market levies for those trading in livestock and bus park fees for all public transport vehicles including matatus, tuk tuks and boda bodas.
Barber shops, salons, general shops, shoe shiners, kiosks, and M-Pesa traders will also enjoy waiver of penalties imposed for non-compliance.
Owners of private vehicles and taxi operators will however continue to pay their taxes as usual as they have not been included in the list of tax waiver beneficiaries.
Dr Mutua said his move was informed by the need to cushion Machakos residents from the effects of high cost of living currently being experienced across the country.
“We have had a big problem in our food security due to failed rains and crop failure. My plans are aimed at mitigating the effects of these natural phenomenons which have posed suffering to our poor people,” he said.
The directive comes at a time when the county’s executive has been accused of failure to achieve revenue collection targets. In the last financial year, the county collected Sh1.3 billion out of the targeted Sh2.5 billion.