Nakuru bets on tax reforms to revive its economy

NAKURU, Kenya, October 18 – The Nakuru County government has launched plans to boost the region’s attractiveness to investors, starting with reforms to the tax regime by harmonizing fees and removing unfair barriers. trade tariffs.

Governor Susan Kihika said her administration will review a multiplicity of levies and taxes that affect intra-county and inter-county trade in the decentralized unit, thereby discouraging investment while raising prices for the consumer.

Nakuru, considered a key food basket in the Rift Valley, is also seeking to attract investors to its vibrant agricultural sector to add value to its products and secure direct sales of its agricultural products in overseas markets, including East African countries. The county is a leading producer of potatoes, carrots, milk, and vegetables, among other crops.

The county, the governor noted, is further committed to avoiding situations where businesses incur costs in multiple permits and licenses in addition to the single business permit.

“We are taking deliberate steps to reduce the cost of doing business and position Nakuru as a key destination for local and foreign investment. As the county government, we are committed to actively pursuing interventions that will make Nakuru the economic powerhouse of the region, thereby making it the destination of choice where trade and investment thrive,” the governor said..

Ms. Kihika said the county has identified its trade and investment prospects, adding that it is pursuing active partnerships to unlock its potential.

“We are committed to providing full support in the belief that it is only through public-private partnerships, value addition, trade and investment that we will achieve the goal of transforming Nakuru into a middle income”, she added.

Addressing the Nakuru County Assembly, the Governor said attracting and retaining investment involves companies partnering with county government to improve development through building infrastructure, restoring natural resources and the provision of productive employment in order to raise the standard of living of every resident throughout the decentralized unit. .

Results of economic surveys conducted by various institutions show that Nakuru is becoming the preferred investment destination for local and international investors.

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The county is expected to have an economic potential worth 200 billion shillings in terms of agricultural value addition, manufacturing, geothermal exploration, tourism and real estate.

The results of a survey published by the Institute of Economic Affairs show that it is easier to start a business in the city of Nakuru than in five other populated urban areas.

Economists attributed this mainly to the reduced tax burden which made it more attractive to investors. The study gave the county an overall score of 89 in the tax subgroup, followed by Eldoret (78) and Machakos (67).

The bottom three in the category were Kisumu (64), Nairobi and Mombasa at 56 and 54 respectively. The county saw land prices increase an average of 12.7% in 2017, according to the 2018 County Land Price Report.

Furthermore, the county’s economic potential was captured in a 2015 World Bank survey which showed the county’s gross domestic product per capita was $1,413, the fourth highest in Kenya after Kiambu, Nyeri and Kajiado. .

Governor Kihika has promised that to transform Nakuru into a more economically vibrant city that will rival Nairobi, his leadership will adopt smart planning.

This, she added, involves properly designating outlying areas for new industrial sites, residential estates for the upper and middle classes and other institutions and the provision of supporting infrastructure.

Ms. Kihika said the county government will continue to leverage economic activities with natural resources in the county like lakes and game parks. Nakuru also relies on geothermal energy to support its economy

“Due to ongoing geothermal production, we anticipate a boom in the geothermal industry in the county, which in turn will open up some of the most attractive investment opportunities for investors. Various investors have expressed interest in creating of industries in the county because of affordable electricity. We want geothermal energy to support Nakuru’s economic fortunes,” the governor said..

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In the Olkaria region of Naivasha, the state-controlled Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is setting up several power stations to produce more energy. And in Menengai, 20 kilometers from Nakuru town, the state-owned Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC) has completed the drilling of several geothermal wells.

Geothermal steam wells at the crater have a capacity of 105 megawatts with the potential to attract easy “green” financing for new investments.

Investors are expected to tap into areas such as large-scale greenhouses, meat processing plants, manufacturing of geothermal gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, among others.

In August 2019, the national government designated 1,000 acres of land in Satellite near Maai Mahiu as an industrial zone which will host the much anticipated Naivasha Industrial Park.

She pointed out that the Lanet airport, which is under construction, is aimed at the direct export of products to Europe and other world markets.

Other key projects in Nakuru include KenGen Textile City Park, Lord Egerton Agri-city and Kabarak University Smart City.

The county has also been trying hard to attract investors and one industry that seems to have answered that call is the hospitality sector. New modern hotels and resorts have come to the county in recent years.

Road infrastructure has also improved, with the construction of two interchanges along the Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway, which have beautified Nakuru town. The interchanges at the Nyahururu and Njoro branches have already been completed.

Boasting tourist spots such as Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru National Park, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lord Egerton Castle, Mount Longonot National Park and Crescent Island among others, the towns of Naivasha and Nakuru are also navigating their global fame as conference centers with companies flying to host global meetings, creating an insatiable demand for new hospitality facilities that can accommodate large delegations of people.

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