Residents of Kakamega county are up in arms after the county government proposed new taxes including clinical circumcision on male children in hospitals and post-mortem on dead animals including cats, dogs and chicken which is mandatory after the recent change of county laws.
Led by Elisha Ohuya, the chair of Kakamega Hoteliers Association and his market counterpart Geoffrey Wekesa, the residents condemned the new laws that have been added to the 2021 Finance bill which is being debated.
“We condemn the move by our MCAs to add such punitive laws to our already overtaxed people in the name of circumcision and post-mortem fees,” the two complained.
The leaders argue that since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, locals have suffered financially stating that the best action the county government should take is to reduce taxes instead of increasing them.
“We are in a pandemic and instead of the government giving us incentives it is burdening us with more taxes,” Wekesa noted.
Nancy Linana, a local from the county, faulted the Ksh600 levy for post-mortem services to any resident whose domestic animal will die, saying it will add more problems to the already troubled locals.
“Will I buy food or pay Ksh600 to the livestock department for them to conduct a post-mortem on my dead cat, dog or chicken? This county is now joking with us,” Linana told K24 Digital.
Edward Wambani, a resident from the county faulted the new Ksh100 tax required of patients who are on oxygen support in hospitals and the introduction of ambulance fees arguing that hospitals in Kakamega lack essential medicine needed in treating residents.
“Why are we charged for essential goods and services? I have a patient on oxygen support who is recovering from Covid-19 and I am required to pay Ksh100 each day for the oxygen he consumes,” Wambani said.
Private school owners have not been spared as they will have to part with a 300 per cent increase on the current ksh25,000 they are required to pay in order to operate in Kakamega county.
According to Private Schools Association chair Meshack Lanziva, the move is seen as a polite way of asking them to close shop in Kakamega county.
“These are punitive measures and we cannot operate under them as we will not be gaining anything in the triple addition to the already expensive operating fees,” Lanziva said.
In defence of the new tax proposals, County Committee Executive for Finance David Ikunza noted that the taxes are just proposals adding that the county assembly will include all the proposals by locals before the bill is passed into law.
Ikunza assured residents that their proposals will be subjected to the County Cabinet meeting before being ratified to be tabled for amendments.