Operational levies affecting Rebecca's business
It is a one room metallic structure with a sheet that separates bedroom and kitchen area. Right outside, is a shop made of wooden planks - a common design for many businesses in the informal sector.
The house also doubles up as storage for the consumables: carrots, kales, pumpkins, onions and tomatoes, sold at the shop.
Meet Rebecca, occupant of the house, a married mother of three who started her business in 2008. “I wake up at 5:00 a.m., get to the market by 5:30 a.m., buy my stock and I am back at my stall by 8: 30 a.m. Business is hard because people around me are opening the same type of businesses making sales harder.” She says.
Rebecca is one of the small business traders who had to pay cess. “Two years ago, we used to pay cess worth 50 KES (about fifty cents US dollars) three times a week.
“The county government did not care whether you had made any sales or not. All they needed was payment. I sometimes had to borrow money from friends to prevent them from carrying my items,” she explains.
The current Governor of Nairobi, Hon. Mike Mbuvi brought relief to her and other small business owners exempting them from paying cess as a campaign promise. However, she still pays operational levies like garbage collection, water and security out of her own pocket.
“When I used to pay cess, I did not see value for my money. We still have no proper roads, there is sewage and water pipes have burst. The County Government needs to step up and work towards creating a better work environment.”
Rebecca recommends that; the County government should construct market places nearby, to ease client access and reduce the other levies small-scale traders have to pay for in Kawangware.