Twaha defends Lamu low revenue collection

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha at his Mokowe office.PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Low economic base has been pointed out as the key contributor to low revenue collection in Lamu County annually.

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha said the county has very few individuals with money that the county government can generate heavy taxes.

Speaking to BARAKA FM on Wednesday, Mr. Twaha said the fact that the county is made up of very few urban centers also contributes to the low revenue collection since most properties which are levied are those found in urban centres.

Mr. Twaha also revealed that most of the properties found within the Lamu urban centres were yet to be rated for tax collection.

The governor added that the county also lacks lucrative sources of revenue like industries, a move that also makes the county struggle in the collection of revenue.

He added that the county’s tourism which is the traditional source of revenue for Lamu County has for the past three years been at its lowest due to the existing travel advisories issued by some of the western nations as a result of the unpredictable state of security in Lamu; contributed by the Al-Shabaab militants.

“We only collected about 70 million revenue last year and this is contributed by the fact that Lamu has a very low economic base. Most properties rated for the tax are those found in urban centres. It’s unfortunate that we only have two major urban centres which are Lamu town and Mpeketoni. You can’t collect reasonable revenue in rural areas,” said Mr. Twaha.

He added, “Lamu has been struggling to collect local revenue since we also lack strong sources of revenue. Most of our people are farmers and fishermen and are not rated for the levy. In addition, our key sources of revenue, that is-tourism and fishing have been down for years now due to the state of security in this region.”

He said he will be consulting with the Lamu County Assembly members in future to oversee whether they can come up with a favorable rating law that will guide them in the specific areas of generating revenue in the county.

“We now have various urban centres sprouting in Lamu including Mokowe which is now the new county headquarter. We want to ensure as many properties as possible in those newly established urban centres are rated so that the county can generate more revenue,” said Mr. Twaha.