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Women Rep, MP oppose Kiambu’s proposal to increase business fees.

Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba (in blue dress) leads a host of other leaders in the official launch of the Thika Barbers and Salons Association. With her is area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina's Personal Assistant Mr. John Mwangi Njuguna (in blue suit) and Elgeyo Marakwet Women Rep. Jane Jepkorir Kiptoo Chebaibai (partly hidden at centre).

Kiambu County Government’s proposal to raise business fees and levies has received reception in Thika, where Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba and area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina said they would oppose replicating the idea in their own backyards.

While speaking on Thursday at Mama Ngina Gardens during the launch of the Thika Barbers and Salons Association, the two leaders termed the increase as unreasonable and detrimental to entrepreneurship and economic growth in the county.

“This plan is a betrayal of the promises Governor (Ferdinand) Waititu made to the people of Kiambu and barbers during his swearing-in as governor in Ndumberi Grounds last year and it threatens the future of the small business economy. This one we won’t allow and we will vehemently oppose him on this,” said Wamuchomba.

She instead urged the county leadership to adopt economic reforms within their systems that reduce on wastage of resources and workout on proposals which prioritised small businesses working their way out of poverty.

“Trading fees and levies should be designed to ease the environment for doing business. Otherwise, what they are proposing will have serious adverse effects on young businesses especially the ‘kinyozis’ and salons he promised to zero tax in his maiden speech,” she noted.

(Related story: Public Consultation meeting in Thika almost turns chaotic as members reject hefty Kiambu rates.)

On his part, Wainaina, through his personal assistant John Mwangi Njuguna expressed his worries that the bill will inflict multilayered suffering upon many businesses.

“The people’s concerns have been ignored in the drafting of this bill. The 100%-300% fee increment by the county government will put a particular burden on small traders seeking to eke a living. Why bite the hand that feeds you? As the office of the area MP, we demand for a review of the same be undertaken in such a way as to strengthen and empower small businesses,” said Mwangi.

The area MP is currently out of the country on an official tour, having accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta to China for a trade and business fair.

Kiambu county Government last month tabled a bill at the assembly proposing to increase fees and levies by between 100 to 300 per cent as part of the government's Fiscal 2018-2019 Budget Bill - a move opposed by Kiambu residents who said it was detrimental to the growth in businesses.

During Thursday’s launch at Mama Ngina Garden, the office of the Women Rep, through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), presented salon and barbers equipment worth Ksh.1.5 million.

She promised to replicate the same in all the 12 sub-counties but on condition that the players in this sector formed clusters.

(See also: Thika Beauticians and Barbers form Association for economic empowerment.)

The group also received cheque of Ksh. 100,000 from the area MP as seed capital to run their association. The MP also promised them that he would help them set up an office so as to ease their management of the group affairs.

Elgeyo Marakwet Women Rep. Jane Jepkorir Kiptoo Chebaibai appealed to the government to consider increasing the amount of money allocated to NGAAF so as to enable the county MPs serve their people better.

“As much as we appreciate the government for the little money we have at our disposal for affirmative action, we would appreciate it even more if we had a bigger allocation so as our people can benefit more,” said Chebaibai.

Thika Barbers and Salons Association Secretary General Humphrey Njenga thanked the leaders for the support they had accorded to them. 

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