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Busia traders protest over increased taxes

07 March 2014, 08:16 Jane Zack

Busia -  Business in Funyula town came to a standstill for six hours Thursday after traders barricaded the busy Funyula-Busia road protesting against high levies charged by the Busia County Government.

Activities at the usually busy town were paralyzed as traders closed their business premises to join in the demonstrations as they demanded to be addressed by Busia Governor Sospeter  Ojaamong.

Anti-riot police remained strategically positioned as they watched demonstrators without engaging them in running battles.

Officers from the Governor's office arrived at 10am led by chief officer, Ezekiel Otieno and chief of staff Robert Papa who met some resistance as they tried to calm the protestors who had blocked the busy road.

Papa in his address allowed the traders to occupy the new Market in Funyula awaiting the formal opening by Governor Ojaamong.

Papa said they had suspended  tax collection until the matter was addressed  by the County Government,  resolved and advised those who had already been issued with receipts to forward them to the County Government offices so that they can be refunded the money.

"We shall avail new rates which you will pay and not the current ones. Business is difficult but we shall ensure small scale traders enjoy their businesses," Papa said.

The traders said there was no reason as to why the trade license fee had been increased from KES 2,500 to KES 7,500 adding that it was unrealistic.

The traders also wondered why the Funyula market had remained closed for nearly two years and yet most of them had been allocated stalls within the market.

Unable to contain the emotions the irate traders forced the doors to the new market open as they dared Funyula town council officers who were forced to flee from the irate youth who were baying for their blood.

They later occupied them after Papa gave an assent. Also present was the Chief Officer in the governor’s office Ezekiel Otieno.

The traders also claimed that the hawkers and small-scale traders were being charged KES 100 per day up from the usual KES 20 per day.

They at the same time said that the status of the road was very pathetic and appealed to area governor  to move with speed and rescue the situation lest they would continue with the protest until their grievances are addressed.

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