Kenya government mishandling investors

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The Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industries(KNCCI) has raised concerns over mishandling of investors in the ongoing crackdown on tax evaders.

KNCCI President Richard Ngatia on Monday criticized the manner in which the operation is being conducted.

He has called on the government and the Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA)to look for compassionate ways of engaging the business persons suspected of evading taxes payment, rather than treating them in a way that will cause their businesses to shut down.

Ngatia who was accompanied by KNCCI Embu chairman John Mugo among others said if business persons suspected to have defaulted in revenue payment are treated harshly, they will close down.

This, he said, will have several implications including job and revenue losses by the government.

There are ways that you can negotiate with them, there are ways that you can have payment plans with them, and there are ways you can assist them to do their businesses within the law,” said Ngatia.

He was addressing journalists after a signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The University of Embu’s Vice Chancellor Prof Daniel Mugendi, on behalf of their organizations, to improve the welfare of traders and students respectively.

Therefore we are saying that we need to pay our taxes promptly but at the same time give us the businesses community opportunity to also negotiate with you on the way that we can pay you to save our businesses,” said Ngatia.

Ngatia said his organization is collaborating with KRA to educate the public and business persons on how they should pay their taxes and how they can be able to engage consultants and auditors so that they can keep their books in order.

Ngatia said KNCCI will also collaborate with Embu County government to unlock potentials of the business community particularly the small traders, Small Micro Enterprises (SMES) and that it will
partner with other institutions within the county for mutual benefits.

Prof Mugendi said in the MOU, they are looking at training and job opportunities at the chamber of commerce.

He is also looking forward to mentorship programmes for university’s students looking for jobs and entrepreneurs.

Ngatia’s sentiments comes after the recent arrest of Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja.

They are accused of a Sh14 billion tax fraud something they have denied while blaming Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) for targeting their company.

Keroche Breweries is the only local succesful Kenyan beer and spirit maker that has challenged British multinational -Diageo plc in the Kenyan alcohol market.

Ealier this month, police also went after billionare businessman Humphrey Kariuki and eight others.

He was arraigned in court for alleged tax evasion and fraud amounting to more than Sh41 billion by his company-Africa Spirits and WoW Beverages.

READ ALSO:Keroche, Mastermind Uncleared in KRAs Tax List

The arrests have sent a wave of fear among large companies in Kenya with the business community concerned the government could scare away investors.

Martin Mwita is a business reporter based in Kenya. He covers equities, capital markets, trade and the East African Cooperation markets.

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