How increase in cess has affected Coletta's business

We have to increase the food prices to be able to make profit while still paying cess.

Coletta Nyairebu,32, is a businesswoman who has been running her fish business for the past two years.  Her fish stand, amongst other businesses is located along a busy side of the road in Nairobi’s ‘Chocolate city’ - Sarangombe Kibra. We are seated in her single room; one she shares with her two children, evident from the baby clothes lying on the bed on the extreme left. Some cups with traces of tea sit on the floor. Coletta starts her day at 4.30 a.m. prepares her children for school and heads off to buy fish. She is a small business owner, with early mornings and late evenings, so as to provide for herself and her children.

Being a small business trader, Coletta is not spared from paying cess, which is collected twice every week by the County Government or market management - a fee that is not easy to come by.

“I buy a Kilo of fish at KES 220 that means that one fish is KES 30, I sell the fish for KES 70 I make KES 40 from each fish. Sometimes I lower the price of fish so that my clients can afford. The profit I make form my sales, I use it to pay for garbage collection, water and security services “I used to pay cess of KES 25 but we now pay KES 50 (about fifty cents US dollars) twice a week.”

The increase in cess has affected the prices of food, “We have to increase the food prices to be able to make profit while still paying cess,” she says.  This has greatly affected her business. She finds it hard to do as much as she would want for her family because tax has become an expense.  She has to split monies made between feeding her children, paying school fees and paying cess.

Sometimes she has rough days when it rains, or when she doesn’t have enough money to buy her raw fish. Such days are tough, but she strives to make ends meet and hopes that one day, her value for money will bear results.

“I hope that from the cess we pay, I will one day be able to run my business from a place with a shed, never have to incur garbage collection expenses, better yet have access to better toilets and have security for me and my business,” says Coletta.