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MCAs reject NMS bid for parking fees in estates

NAIROBI
By Josphat Thiong’o | September 7th 2021
House business going on in new Nairobi County Assembly. [Courtesy]

Nairobi County Assembly has deemed illegal a proposal by Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and City Hall to charge for parking in residential areas.

The county Finance Budget and Appropriations committee has rejected the proposal that sought to raise funds to meet the Sh19.8 billion revenue target.

Last week, the county introduced a draft policy which proposed introduction of hourly parking charges of between Sh75 and Sh100 within the Central Business District (CBD).

City Hall, through the draft policy, also sought to scrap parking season tickets in the CBD and introduce them in other areas at Sh6,000 a month.

But Finance committee chairperson Robert Mbatia said City Hall has no legal backing to implement the policy since the county assembly is egally mandated to determine levels and areas where fees are to be charged, and was not consulted.

“The committee hence wishes to clarify that any attempt to collect parking fees for vehicles parked in residential areas is illegal and not backed by enabling legislation from the county assembly,” said Mr Mbatia in a statement tabled in the assembly yesterday.

He clarified that the Finance Act 2018 only allows the county government to collect parking fees from commercial buildings in shopping centres outside the CBD like Buruburu, Industrial Area but not residential areas.

The committee further blamed the Lydia Kwamboka-led office of the county attorney for the confusion surrounding the law on collection of parking fees.

Mbatia said over the years, the assembly has passed numerous laws on revenue administration, advertising among others which were aimed at increasing revenue collection but whose implementation has been frustrated by the office of the county attorney.

“The proposed Finance Bill 2020 was not considered by the county assembly because of the office's failure to publish it in good time. The Revenue Administration Bill for example has forward-looking provisions which would have provided an effective launching and fertile ground for realisation of the revenue targets contained in the budget for the current and future financial years,” he said.

“Whereas the county assembly through the office of the Clerk and office of the Speaker has taken remedial measures to correct this mess, the apparent lackluster performance of the Office of the County Attorney is something that the Committee is seriously looking into,” Mbatia added.

The chairperson who is also Kariobangi South MCA, also criticised the office of the Auditor General for insisting that individual businesses must pay for inspection certificate as opposed to charging respective buildings the fees.

“On the imposition of the fire certificates the county assembly at the time of enacting the Finance Act 2018 was categorical that implementation of fees should not be undertaken in a manner that dwarfs and drives way potential business startups,” he said.

Consequently, the committee will summon Finance CEC Allan Igambi, NMS and the Kenya Revenue Authority during the consideration of the Finance Bill 2021 to determine mechanisms of improving revenue collection and tightening the loose ends in revenue administration chain.

“The committee wishes to assure the public that it is alive to the prevailing economic circumstances arising from Covid-19 and shall fully take that into account,” said Mbatia.

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