Relief for traders as county moves to harmonise taxation

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KNCCI Vihiga Chairperson Dr Billy Nyonje  (left) and Vihiga County Trade and Industrialisation Executive Geoffrey Vukaya, showing the Memorandum of Understanding documents signed on July 8, 2022, at Mbale. [Brian Kisanji, Standard]

Business people have signed a tax harmonisation agreement with the county government that among other things seeks to eliminate double levies.

Through their umbrella group, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), the business people have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the county government to safeguard their enterprises.

The agreement signed on Thursday will promote mutual co-operation and understanding between the county and the business community to especially avoid the thorny issues of double taxation and harsh penalties for delayed tax payment.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, KNCCI Vihiga chapter’s chair Dr Billy Nyonje said the agreement will provide a platform to support and strengthen trade and investment programmes across the county.

“This MoU will allow us to have collaboration with the county government that will help in promoting local-based business while also inviting foreign investors,” said Nyonje.

Critical in the MoU is how to allow business people to be taxed only once for the major business in their establishments.

“If one has a bookshop and on the other side they have a photocopy in the same room, the county government will now be advised to only tax the dominant bookshop business,” said Nyonje.

Traders have been pushing for the county government to stop harassing business people who delay on getting business permits.

KNCCI now wants the county government to be able to enter into an agreement with the business people to have them pay for the permit in instalments across the respective financial year.

“The county will be able to discuss with us, the business community on how we can easily pay for the permits rather than impounding goods hence putting us into losses,” said Nyonje.

According to Geoffrey Vukaya, the Trade and Industrialisation Executive, the three-year deal will see the county government accept timely views from the business people on how they would want the planning and budgeting process to be done.

The county government in the MoU will also be able to woo more investors into the county on the basis of a friendly business environment.

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