, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has waived, “with immediate effect,” coffee licensing fees and levies in an effort to improve the livelihoods of farmers and to make the sector more lucrative.
President Kenyatta has also directed the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Treasury and Attorney General to undertake a review of tea and sugar levies.
He said he expects the waiving of coffee licensing fees and levies to boost the earnings of farmers by four percent.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of our people. It is from farming revenue that school and health fees are paid. My administration has (therefore) undertaken measures to address burdensome licensing fees and levies. These remain a bottleneck particularly in sugarcane, tea and coffee farming,” he said in explanation to his directive.
In a further effort to increase the ease of doing business in Kenya, he said his government is also looking to reduce prohibitive levies all round and not just in the agricultural sector.
“To this end, I am directing that the prohibitive levies at the National Environment Management Authority, National Construction Authority, and the Communications Authority be reviewed with immediate effect.”
He has also encouraged the county governments to make the same undertaking saying it was critical to creating the jobs necessary to grow their economies.
The increase of levies by county governments in an effort to grow their revenues has led to a number of protests around the country including in Nairobi.
Earlier this month President Kenyatta constituted a taskforce to identify the factors ailing Kenya’s previously flourishing coffee sector; a mainstay of Kenya’s economy in terms of exports.
Professor Joseph Kieyah was appointed to chair the taskforce with the assistance of Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe.
President Kenyatta gave the taskforce until March 24 to compile a report its report.
Other efforts by the Jubilee administration to put Kenya back on the agricultural world map include the subsidising of fertiliser costs and a shift toward value addition for more competitive pricing.