Women Rep wants ranchers to pay tax
14 June 2013, 16:11
Laikipia County Women Representative Jane Machira has reiterated her call to have ranchers in the County pay taxes.
Speaking in Nanyuki town, Machira alleged that the government is losing a lot of revenue as big land owners have refused to remit taxes.
“Majority of these private land owners who also keep wild animals have constructed lodges where foreign tourists visit in the name of families and friends and thereby deny the government its revenue,” she said.
Over 60 % of land mass in Laikipia is owned by private ranchers.
The leader lamented that it is usually difficult for the government officers to audit them because they deny them access.
She at the same time castigated a section of them for opposing a power line that is expected to be constructed from Ethiopia through their ranches.
The multi-billion shilling project by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) has been met with resistance from the ranchers who claim the project would pollute the pristine wilderness that is core to their eco-tourism business.
Designed to be 1 045 kilometres, 612 of which are in Kenya, the power line will be the longest in the country and is expected to have a carry 2 000 megawatts of power.
Construction of the power line will cost about KES 63 billion. Ketraco is at bid-preparation stage and the work is set to begin in December and end by December 2016 or early 2017.
Machira said the ranchers use solar and generator power in their farms which they are capable to maintain, adding that it would be to the disadvantage of local mwananchi if they oppose the project.
“Electricity cables pass several meters above the ground where elephants and other animals cannot reach; how then can they claim that their animals are in danger?” questioned Machira.
Ketraco Managing Director Engineer Joel Kiilu said that hydropower is cheap compared to the thermal-generated one.
“Our wish is to replace the use of thermal-generated power with imported hydropower which could be ten times cheaper,” engineer Kiilu observed.
During a consultative meeting held at a hotel in Nanyuki town few weeks ago, big ranch owners in the County vehemently opposed the routing of the power line anywhere in the County saying it will kill livelihoods of the local communities.
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