Governor Waiguru says not retreat on crackdown on unlicensed bars
Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru has said that there will be no turning back on cracking down on liquor outlets operating in the county without licences.
The governor who emphasized that the crackdown that started a week ago will go on until all operators are compliant, noted that there have been cartels who have been misadvising bar owners not pay taxes. “We are telling bar owners that they should not be misadvised by people who do not own any bars on how to run their business. We have no fight with bar operators but we are asking them to pay taxes like other businesses,” said the governor. Speaking in Mwea where she launched an accelerated roads rehabilitation program for Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme, Waiguru noted that since the crackdown began, the county has collected Ksh. 19 million in unpaid taxes from bar owners.
More than 600 bars have so far been licenced. She noted that the Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA) had previously noted that the county only collected 30% of potential revenue. Waiguru noted that her administration was keen on listening and addressing grievances by traders with the aim of forging harmony, noting that some of the issues by traders will be addressed through proposed bill to be tabled soon in the County Assembly.
On Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme roads rehabilitation, the governor said that the program aims at achieving well drained all weather access roads within the scheme through the murraming of a total of 200 kms of roads before the onset of the oncoming rains. She said that the roads marked for rehabilitation have been identified in collaboration with Members of the County Assembly and Irrigation Water Users Association. She said that the program is a collaboration between the County Executive, the County Assembly, The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) and the Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA). “To ensure the smooth execution of the program, the County Government has provided six 20ton capacity tipper lorries, one grader, one drum roller and one excavator that will complement the ones provided by NIA,” said the governor.
Some of the roads earmarked for murraming in this this program include Mahiga-ini-Mwathaini, Kiriko-Kamariandu and Nyamindi-Gathigiriri roads. Waiguru underscored the need to carry routine maintenance of roads within the scheme since many of them are rendered impassable due to overflow from water canals during the rainy seasons.
Mwea Irrigation Scheme is comprised of 30,600 acres of land under rice with farmers harvesting the main crop around November and the ratoon harvest mid-February. “We remain committed and resolute to the Kirinyaga Rising vision that is aimed at transforming and uplifting the living standards of every resident in the county”, the governor said , noting that her administration intend to murram 250 kms of road this financial and 1,000kms in the next five years.
She said that during her last tenure, the county government managed to improve more than 3000 roads across the county, noting that improved rural roads network will help the county attain sustained local social economic development by opening up the rural areas and enabling farmers to transport their farm produce to the market. “Good roads also open up employment opportunities for the youth in the public transport sector, especially the boda boda operators,” she added.
To improve on efficiency, the County Government bought road construction equipment that include five graders, 10 trucks-20tons, two excavators, one low bed/loader, one backhoe, two roller-compactors and one water bowser.