Nairobi leaders, traders in fresh plea over taxes

Kamkunji MP Yusuf Hassan (centre) at the launch of Kushitic Cosmetics at BBS Mall in Eastleigh, with Kushitic Cosmetics CEO Khadijo Abdi (left) and her senior management team.

Photo credit: Pool

Political and business leaders in Nairobi have urged the government to find creative ways to rejuvenate the import-export industry.

This, they say, will give retailers competitive access to goods and allow consumers to buy products in the city without having to travel far.

Agricultural products make up the bulk of Kenya's export sector, while imports include textiles, personal care products and cosmetics.

The group also wants National Treasury and the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry to hold talks with them in the wake of tax measures proposed in the Finance Bill, 2024 including a review of the 1.5 per cent Import Declaration Fees on imported raw materials.

Speaking in Eastleigh yesterday, Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan Abdi said the government should support local traders to beat stiff competition from neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Tanzania.

Build economy

"Given the stiff competition from traders from neighbouring countries, let's have more discussions as we hope more traders will take advantage of the BBS Mall and others coming up in Eastleigh so that we can build our economy," said Mr Hassan.

"We are calling on the government through the Kenya Revenue Authority to find a window through which some of these taxes can be removed so that our businesses can grow significantly," added the MP, who was accompanied by Eastleigh North MCA Ahmed Dabar.

The officials were speaking at the launch of the Kushitic Cosmetics outlet in Eastleigh, as it emerged that businesses could flourish with the increase in the number of shopping malls in Nairobi, with good news expected for retailers and consumers across the East African region.

Kushitics Cosmetics CEO Khadijo Abdi called for the strengthening of the import and export market, saying most Kenyans who were forced to travel long distances to buy beauty products could now get them in the capital thanks to a thriving market.

Businesses in Eastleigh contribute about 30 per cent of Nairobi's city revenue, which according to city statistics amounts to Sh2 billion annually, and with the emergence of opportunities from developers, the revenue can only grow.

"There is more to be gained from having a vibrant import and export market. I have treated a lot of clients with skin problems. A vibrant market can go a long way in ensuring that they have access to a variety of products," she said at the launch.

Ms Sara Mwangi, who hails from Murang'a County, could not hide her joy when she realised that she could get most of her cosmetic products under one roof in Eastleigh. "When I first came here, there were only a few products available, but now the supply is consistent," said Ms Mwangi.

With demand for various goods on the rise, local leaders and the business community are calling on the government to further reduce taxes to attract more traders and increase revenue collection in Eastleigh, a key business district.