Khat traders protest over high tax in Mombasa – Kenya News Agency
Mombasa county government has proposed to double the cess on stimulants.
The traders are now seeking the intervention of Meru and Embu governors Kawira Mwangaza and Cecily Mbarire, as well as Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.
According to traders, Mombasa County’s proposed Finance Bill of 2022/2023 will increase the cess for khat from a flat rate at Sh45,000 per vehicle up to Sh80,000.
The county will charge Sh80,000 for a truck carrying more than seven tons and Sh50,000 for a truck carrying less than seven tons under the new cess schedule.
A three-tonne lorry costs Sh30,000, a pick up Sh20,000, and a handcart Sh10,000.
If the bill passes the county assembly, an additional Sh1,500 will be charged per box for muguka and Sh1,200 per bag of miraa.
Ian Mwobobia, secretary general of Muguka Association, called the increase exorbitant.
“It is public knowledge that muguka and miraa traders have been victims of harassment and punitive taxes by Mombasa County since 2018. Each year, taxes rise by more than 150 per cent. This is despite the county government imposing levies on offloading, transportation and trading,” Mr. Mwobobia states.
He stated that khat is more expensive than other agricultural products by more than 100 per cent.
Mwobobia warned that the hefty cess would kill many businesses not only in Mombasa but also Embu and Meru.
He noticed that governor Abdulswamad Nassir had called traders to arrange a meeting, but none of their suggestions were considered in the Finance Bill.
He said when the traders tried to reach out to the governor in December, he referred them to the County Assembly yet the Bill originated from the Executive.
John Mbijiwe a miraa trader from Meru pointed out that increase in taxes will kill their business.
Miraa farmers have been facing a lot of challenges such as ban of miraa trade in European markets, hence imposing extra charges will be killing it,” he said and called on the county government to review the levies downwards so that traders can remain in business.
By Muguongo Judy