NAIROBI, KENYA: The Nairobi Metropolitan Services has announced plans to reduce the number of car wash business in Nairobi County.
Director-General Mohammed Badi on Tuesday raised the alarm over the proliferation of the car wash business which he termed as fast-expanding and unregulated and which has now found its way to posh areas like Muthaiga, Karen, Lavington, and other areas that “they should not be.”
"Car wash businesses are too many and have made their way to high-end areas, which should not be the case. Most of these were licensed by MCAs. It is something political; a kind of payment to boys who probably voted for them,” said Badi during an interview with Spice FM radio station.
Aware that the move to halt the operations of the businesses would face opposition, Badi said that he was relying on the help of the city assembly in order to achieve this.
“We are hoping that we can be able to work closely with the county assembly so that we can get rid of a majority of them. We are fighting to ensure that the rule of law is applied everywhere,” he added.
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The Major General was however concerned that the fast-expanding business had been premised on political support and confessed to having a challenge in trying to enforce the law in their regard.
“In terms of enforcement, we have a challenge because these people are licensed by the county assembly. These politicians control the county assembly; they develop the by-laws which allow such businesses to operate illegally," he stated.
“It’s not an easy task because remember the MCAs are the same people that have allocated these car washes to their people then you expect them to vote and say no to them at the county assembly.”
Notably, the car wash business has become one of the most successful but yet most disruptive businesses in the country.
Its proliferation can be attributed to the low start-up costs, the booming road transport costs, and the favourable locations that they are situated.
In Nairobi County, for instance, car washes have dotted the city estates where they charge between Sh150-Sh300 depending on the location.
A spot check by The Standard on Tuesday revealed that car washes charge between Sh80-Sh100 for a motorbike, Sh150-Sh300 for matatus (public service vehicles), and Sh600 to Sh1000 for canters while small cars are charged between Sh150 to Sh250. These prices are however adjustable depending on the location and negotiations between the service provider and the customer.
Sought for comment, the immediate former Nairobi Assembly Water committee chairperson and Mihango ward MCA Paul Kados said that instead of reducing the number of car washes, they needed to be regulated.
He urged the county executive to ensure that those licensed to start a car wash business do so away from the roadside and near a place with good drainage systems.