Counties in Kenya are hampering inter-county trade by imposing extra fees and charges for goods that pass by through their jurisdiction. Counties now have laws that tax goods moving in and out of their regions to supplement funds released by the national government.
Other connected problems that have arisen include arrest and harassment of company drivers and losses in terms of damaged goods and spoilt fresh produce.
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Phyllis Wakiaga, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO, has expressed concern that manufacturers are especially affected by the double taxation. KAM has apparently received complaints by manufacturers on the multiplicity of charges and fees levied by the County Governments affecting operations within the counties.
KAM partnered with the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) in 2014 and 2015 to address multiplicity of Licenses, fees and Charges which saw the development of policy documents that would guide the development of county revenue laws that are constitutional. The Guidelines were adopted by Counties yet, harmonization in the counties has not been achieved as was anticipated.
The extra levies and charges do not bode well for the trade within Kenya and even the EAC. Counties need to supported at a legislative level so that they are able to come up with laws that are in harmony with existing policy documents around Licenses, fees and Charges. They also need to be supported at an economic level so that they can be helped to come up with innovative raise extra revenue to fund their activities.