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Governors want Sh32 tea levy scrapped

Friday February 09 2018
By KENNEDY KIMANTHI

Governors from tea growing areas want Mombasa County government to scrap the Sh32 levy imposed by the county for each package entering the port city. 

This is despite the East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta) announcing last week that the county’s trade department had abolished the cess after an agreement was reached. 

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony said they will engage Governor Hassan Joho’s administration to remove the trade barrier he feels is likely to affect tea sales abroad and lower income for farmers. 

“We believe that this cess should not be levied at the port as it will lead to double taxation across various counties to the detriment of the tea value chain,” Mr Chepkwony said on Friday at the Council of Governors headquarters in Nairobi. 

Last month, the county sent a circular to tea stakeholders informing them of a Sh32 levy on every package of tea that transits through Mombasa. 

The Tea Directorate had also condemned the move, saying it was not in the best interest of Kenyan tea at the international market.

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Among the tea growing areas in Kenya are Kericho, Bomet, Nandi, Kiambu, Thika, Maragua, Murang’a, Sotik, Kisii, Nyamira, Nyambene, Meru, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Kakamega, Nakuru and Trans-Nzoia.

The cess was introduced in 2014 and later suspended in 2015 following a successful court case against it.

But the court later ruled in favour of the county thereby allowing Mombasa to collect cess on trucks carrying the commodity and other goods destined for exports.

Kenya's tea sector contributes to about 7 percent of the GDP and 26 percent of the country's foreign exchange.

Kenya is also the third largest tea producing country in the world and the leading exporter of black tea which fetches the highest market fees in the global markets.

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