The county government of Homa Bay has taken an unprecedented step towards addressing the Covid-19 pandemic by instituting a 30-day tax waiver.
The waiver will affect traders selling foods in all open-air markets in the county.
A report by the Standard on Wednesday, March 25, detailed that the Finance Executive Nicholas Koriko had confirmed that the markets would remain open and those trading in them would be spared paying the taxes.
“Governor Cyprian Awiti has directed that revenue collection in all our open-air markets be suspended for 30 days,” Koriko stated.
The County Assembly Majority Leader Jeff Ongoro provided that the tax exemption would improve the lives of small traders especially in light of the ongoing pandemic.
The move would however only apply to those selling food and other edibles with other traders having been barred from the markets to limit the spread of Covid-19.
“We have also suspended the sale of non-edible items in open-air markets.” provided Koriko.
The tax exemption woud similarly only apply to traders working from the open air markets with traders in enclosed spaces still bound to pay taxes for use of their premises.
“I want to clarify that those operating in enclosed places will continue paying taxes. This exemption applies only to traders operating in open-air markets,” Koriko affirmed.
The move has been applauded as one of the few measures that has attempted to address the fate of those working in the informal sector.
Also known as the Jua Kali Sector, the informal sector has been described as small scale activities that are semi-organised, unregulated and use low and simple technologies.
As per data released by the 2017 Economic Survey by the Kenya Burea of Statistics, this sector represents around 83.1% of the country’s labour force.
It is the sheer size of this group that has raised various questions about the measures that the government is taking to cushion those working within it from the shocks of the pandemic.