Government to streamline levies paid by EPZ businesses

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The national government is in advanced talks with county governments to streamline levies paid by businesses in Export Processing Zones.

Industry and Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya is concerned that despite firms operating in Export Processing Zones paying business license fee to the national government, they are being forced to pay the same levy to respective counties which amounts to double levies.

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Export Processing Zones were established in the 1990s with an aim of attracting and facilitating export-oriented investments.

They are offered an attractive and enabling environment as well as a range of incentives to produce for the export market.

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However, the adoption of the devolved system of governance has seen some counties through their respective Finance Acts demand for similar fees as what EPZs pay to the national government.

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Munya says this is being addressed. Another issue faced by EPZs is the high cost of electricity which is making Kenyan made products expensive in global markets.

Munya says the Ministries of National Treasury and Energy as well as Kenya Power are working on a solution.

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The government is putting more emphasis on agro-based EPZs to tap the avocado and macadamia nuts market in China that Kenya sealed last year even as talks with other countries such as the US progress.

There are 72 gazetted EPZs in Kenya with the government keen to have more county-based EPZs.

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