Kisumu boda-boda riders are at loggerhead with the county government over taxation.
Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s administration wants them to pay Ksh20 daily. Finance executive Nerry Achar made the announcement last week. This is part of efforts to boost revenue collection. Achar said the levy took effect on June 1 and defaulters will be penalised.
“We will not hesitate to take action against the defaulters. Even our mothers selling vegetables are paying tax,” he added.
For the past five years, Kisumu has been struggling to meet its Ksh1 billion revenue target. The county has more than 35,000 boda-boda riders and its agencies have been notified of the taxation.
The riders are required to pay and get stickers to enable them to operate — Ksh 20 daily or Ksh 500 monthly. They have not been paying taxes since the inception of devolution. Last year, attempts to have them pay hit a snag as they vehemently rejected the idea.
They are not ready to budge. They say their input was not sought.
The county says it will deal with Saccos to collect the cash weekly or monthly. Achar told the riders to join Saccos to ease the work. Those who will not comply will be expected to make a daily remittance.
Senator Fred Outa said the taxation can only work if the money is collected through Saccos. He said the sector has at least 48,000 members who can make a major contribution to Kisumu’s economy. The senator urged riders to join Saccos for easier management.
The majority of the riders are, however, not ready to comply. County Boda Boda Riders’ Association leader Jacob Ochieng said there was no public participation. He said they are not ready to pay.
They want a clear explanation of how the money will be used if they have to part with the cash.
“Public participation must be done before imposing the new taxation law,” Ochieng said.
Moses Ogola said they will not pay the proposed tax until the Kisumu government fully accounts for all the money it has collected from residents. “We’ve not been consulted. First, let the county explain the whereabouts of money alleged to have been lost. We cannot pay tax to enrich a few corrupt county officials,” he said.
Joseph Omondi accused the county government of exploiting vulnerable citizens, instead of fixing their problems.
“Instead of imposing taxes on riders, let Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and his team look into our security first. He must also be able to explain to us how the money is going to be used,” he said.
Kennedy Ambumbi said the county administration is hell-bent on exploiting residents.
“Before introducing the new taxes, the county government must be fully responsible for public resources. They should stop squandering taxes we pay from our hard-earned money,” he said.
But Achar said the money will help the county to build bodaboda sheds and improve roads.
(Source/ The Star)