The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Leather Council Gets New Boss

KENYA Leather Development Council outgoing chairman has called for investigations in the leather industry.

Amos Ngonjo yesterday urged President Uhuru to institute a regional commission to investigate cartels who frustrate the industry. He said Kenya loses alot of revenue through tax evasion and other corrupt dealings. Ngonjo said the cartels should be mopped up to bring the culprits to book. He was speaking at the council offices while handing over to new chairman Titus Ibui.

"I urge the President to coordinate with regional leaders and form a commission of people knowledgeable about this sector to investigate these cartels because they do not mean well for this sector by evading to pay tax,the dragnet should go regional,". he said.

Ngonjo said he is happy with what he accomplished during his tenure but said a lot still needed to be done.

"I am very happy to leave having done a lot to ensure that this organization is better than I found. A lot still needs to be done,i will however be active in this sector because I am the Chairman of Kenya Traders and Tanners Association,"he said.

He also said he has already acquired a parcel of land where he will put up a tannery which will produce finished products.

"It is unfortunate because we used to have various tanneries but they have been brought down by corruption. We need to revamp this sector if we are serious about creating as many jobs as possible. The Veterinary Service said we had Ksh. 2-3 billion in terms of export,we should be getting more than 200 billion,"he added.

Ngonjo said several companies do not show how much they earned as a way of evading the taxman. He said an investigation by the KACC now EACC in 2003 revealed that some companies ran away with over 600 million in terms of revenue which should have never been allowed.

"We have several problems bedeviling this sector.70 per cent of containers at the port of Mombasa are not declared,hides and skins are being moved without health certificates,milk and meat have been placed under one council,this is wrong.We have outsiders dominating the sector and are smuggling and nothing has be done" he added.

Titus Ibui,the new Chairman said he is willing and ready to work as a team to ensure that the council succeeds. He said his priority areas would be to enforce existing laws,lobby to ensure that the council is established by an act of parliament.

He urged institutions of higher learning to recruit and train leather technicians to help the sector.

"Jubilee administration attaches a lot of emphasis on this sector because it has the capacity to create several job opportunities,the task ahead is huge but we will work as a team to ensure this sector meets its mandate as outlined in our strategic plan," Ibui said.

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