County Assembly passes Finance bill to fund its Sh34 billion budget

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

Private motorists, property owners and schools are among the biggest winners following the reduction of various fees levied by the Nairobi County government.

However, betting firms, taxi companies, and corporates were slapped with the heaviest fees under new taxation measures approved by the county assembly on Tuesday evening.

The reduction of parking fees for private motorists from Sh300 to Sh200 is the highlight of the Nairobi County Finance Bill, 2018, aimed at financing the Sh34 billion budget for the 2018-19 financial year.

The reduction of parking fees will be a reprieve for motorists given an earlier proposal by the County Treasury to raise the daily fees to Sh400. Motorists currently pay Sh300, which was increased by former Governor Evans Kidero in 2013 from Sh150.

Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman Robert Mbatia yesterday explained that the reduction was necessitated by poor compliance by motorists.

“As late as yesterday, only 30 per cent of motorists paid for parking. People opted to corrupt the attendants with Sh100 and risk being clamped but by reducing the fee to Sh200 we are confident motorists will pay to avoid being clamped,” said Mr Mbatia.

Nursery, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities were spared from paying hefty monthly garbage collection fees of between Sh3,000 and Sh65,000 depending on the number of students in an institution, as proposed by the executive.

Households that had also been slapped with a monthly garbage collection fee of between Sh100 and Sh500 by the executive were also spared the charges.

Mr Sonko had proposed a levy of Sh500 per household in the high-end estates and the CBD, Sh300 for households in middle-income estates and Sh100 for informal settlements.

Bar and restaurant owners, fast food joints, milk bars, posho mills and juice parlour businesses also secured a huge reduction in fees for a food handler's certificate. They will now pay Sh1,000. Bar and restaurant owners currently pay Sh7,000 for the licences while the rest are charged between Sh2,000 and 3,000.

Property developers will also pay less for approval of building plans. The fee has been pegged at 0.5 per cent of the construction cost. Currently, they pay 3 per cent of the value of the land. 

Street preachers were also spared the Sh1,000 daily charge proposed by the executive. The assembly argued that the proposal was not viable.

In light of the incessant water shortages rocking the capital, charges for hiring water bowsers (trucks) were also reduced from a proposed charge of between Sh3,500 to 10,000 down to between Sh1,000 and Sh2,500. 

Uber, Taxify, Little Cab and other large transport companies with a capacity of over 100 vehicles will be required to pay Sh300,000 a year. Those with a fleet of between 51 to 100 vehicles will part with Sh100,000, whereas those with less than 50 vehicles will pay a yearly fee of Sh50,000.

Mbatia explained that as it currently stands, the taxi-hailing app companies do not pay for any operational licences.

“We will not charge the drivers but the company itself. For example, Uber has an office in Westlands, thus it will be required to pay the fee,” he stated.

Betting firms will also have to dig deeper into their pockets to finance their operations after city hall slapped them with several charges.

Putting up a casino in the city will cost Sh1 million, an annual licence fee of Sh300,000 and renewal fees of Sh10,000. If the casino wishes to transfer its location it will be required to pay Sh200,000.

Penalties for failing to pay for casino and betting premise licences will attract a fee of Sh1,000,000. Any betting establishment found to allow minors into its premises will be fined Sh100,000.