Resident’s Association KARA opposes plan to charge parking in estates

A car park in Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango,Standard]

A residents' lobby has opposed a plan by Nairobi County to charge parking fees in residential areas.

Under the umbrella of the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA), the group rejected the move as is ill-timed, unjustifiable and insensitive to the economic hardships Kenyan’s are going through.

This comes after the Nairobi Metropolitan Services announced a plan to introduce a collection of parking fees from residential areas within the county.

The move NMS said is aimed at achieving the revenue collection targets.

In the same plan, motorists will be charged between Sh75 and Sh100 every hour for parking within the Nairobi city centre.

This will see motorists part with Sh90 for every hour for on-street parking slots south of Kenyatta Avenue and west of Moi Avenue, areas described as the most sought-after by motorists.

For parking in other areas apart from the two prime spots, an hourly parking fee of Sh75 will be charged.

Currently, motorists are charged a flat rate daily on-street parking fee of Sh200 in the city centre.

The plan further roots for the removal of season tickets option for parking in the city centre and offers the same outside the city centre at Sh6,000 per month.

But KARA said NMS should instead address the issue of cartels colluding with some County officers to divert some of the realizable parking fees for personal use.

“Nairobi residents are already over-burdened by numerous taxes and the County Government should give more attention to ensuring that they get value for the taxes by improving service delivery as opposed to introducing measures that will only exacerbate the economic challenges faced by residents of Nairobi,” the association’s Chief Executive Officer Henry Ochieng said.

Ochieng said the association will make use of every legal option at its disposal to ensure that no parking fees are collected from the estate parking.

“We have already written to the Nairobi County Executive Committee Member for Finance and Planning demanding that the decision be rescinded with immediate effect,” he said.

KARA’s objection comes a day after Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja criticised NMS’s proposal terming it unacceptable.

Sakaja said the NMS was out of touch with the struggles of Nairobi residents who are already hard-pressed with the coronavirus pandemic.

He said it is quite inconsiderate of what Nairobians are going through.

“Many people leave their cars in the estate when they don't have money for fuel, which has also gone up. We can't raise parking fees in town to reduce congestion then follow people to their estates and tax them again when they leave their cars there,” he said.

The Senator said funds for Nairobi are up from  Sh15 billion in 2017 to Sh19 billion in the current financial year, which should be enough for the county to meet its needs without overburdening Nairobi residents.

He said he would summon the NMS and Nairobi County government officials to the senate after recess to revoke the proposal.

City Hall is said to have collected Sh1.55 billion in parking fees in the financial year ending June 2020 against a target of Sh2.8 billion.

This was occasioned by the fact that from 1,305,440 vehicles that parked in the 6,125 designated parking slots only 402,401, representing 31 per cent, paid for the parking.

City Hall collected a paltry Sh1.55 billion in parking revenue in the financial year ended June 30, 2020. This represented a performance of 53 percent.

By the end of 2020/21 financial year, City hall is said to have collected Sh4.1 billion (24.8 percent) against an annual target of Sh16.5 billion.

In the same period, parking fees returned a low of Sh685 million against the annual target of Sh2.8 billion, representing a performance rate of 24.5 percent.

The Standard
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