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Court declines to lift parking fees order

By Paul Ogemba | March 4th 2021

Nairobi motorists got relief after the High Court refused to lift orders stopping the county government from increasing parking fees.

Justice Anthony Mrima ruled that the orders, which halted the Nairobi City County government's plan to increase parking charges from Sh200 to Sh400 will remain in force until a suit filed by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) challenging the move is determined.

The court had initially issued the order suspending the new parking charges introduced by the county government in December 2019 but the county government applied for the orders to be lifted arguing that it is denying it revenue to run various projects.

The county had proposed to hike the parking fees in a bid to increase revenue collection and decongest the Central Business District but COFEK argued that the decision was illegal and unconstitutional.

Through lawyer Henry Kurauka, the consumers’ lobby and Matatu Owners Association argued that the increment was unfair, unreasonable, exorbitant and passed without public participation as provided in the constitution.

“The decision by the Nairobi City County government to increase parking fees for both private and public vehicles was illegal and would adversely affect consumers seeking transport and parking services within the city if allowed to come into force,” said Kurauka.

He argued that Nairobi residents are already overburdened by the high cost of living which will be worsened if parking fees for PSV are increased which will mean the public transport providers will also hike their fares.

According to the lawyer, the county government did not seek the opinions of residents before passing the law which would see PSV pay Sh1,000 parking fees daily.

Kurauka argued further that the county’s director of parking services acted illegally by imposing the new rates when he lacked the mandate to set timelines for commencement of the city county‘s finance Act 2019 which introduced the new parking fees.

“The increase was very unrealistic considering the harsh economic situations Kenyans are going through. The Kenya economy has shrunk while the timing of increasing parking fees was wrong and hurriedly implemented without proper and adequate notice to the public,” said Kurauku.

He added that it was illogical for the county to increase the parking fees when many motorists are not assured of their vehicles’ security while parked at the CBD and are forced to pay additional charges to parking boys to avoid vandalism.

Justice Mrima directed COFEK and the county government to file their submissions within 14 days and scheduled the hearing on April 21.

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