Street preachers in Nairobi to pay as Sakaja widens tax net

A street preacher along Moi Avenue in Nairobi on May 6, 2021. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Pastors who have been preaching in public parks in Nairobi will now pay the county government Sh1, 000 per day when the county’s Finance Bill comes into effect within the next month.

Most of these preachers have been visiting places such as Uhuru Park and Aga Khan Walk, especially during lunch hour, to spread God’s word.

Governor Johnson Sakaja already assented to the bill which, once it becomes operational, will see the pastors pay to preach. Only those preaching at Jeevanjee Gardens will pay Sh500 per day.

Those preaching in all other parks within the city will pay a flat rate of Sh1, 000 per day to the county government.

Several preachers shifted to the various venues at the city centre after Uhuru Park and Central Park were closed for renovations during the era of Nairobi Metropolitan Service.

The new law also requires religious organizations intending to hold crusades and other meetings at Kamukunji grounds to part with Sh20, 000 per day which one of the ways the county government is hoping will help it improve its revenues.

Administration aims

During the presentation of the Sh42.3 billion county budget, Finance executive Charles Kerich said the Sakaja administration aims to improve its revenue from Sh10 billion to Sh19 billion.

Also targeted in the plan are politicians holding rallies at famous Kaukunji grounds who will be required to part with Sh100, 000 per day.

Sakaja plans to use the recently rehabilitated Uhuru Park to make some money from artistes, through the Finance Bill 2023.

Recording commercial videos in Uhuru Park will cost Sh10, 000 per hour while shooting videos for both secular and gospel music will cost Sh5, 000 per hour.

Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Planning Committee vice chairman Emily Oduor and Finance CEC Charles Kerich before the minister presented the budget estimates at City Hall on Thursday, June 28, 2023. [Samson Wire. Standard]

At the City Park, vendors will be required to pay a Sh4, 000 annual fee and Sh5, 000 for trading licenses.

The county boss has promised that traders will be allowed to operate freely in the city centre. However, how this position has changed and the traders will now be required to pay

Unlike before when hawkers paid Sh20 daily, under the new law, they will be required to pay Sh50 daily to the county government. This means that in a day, the hawkers who are estimated to be around 6,000, will make Sh300, 000 for the county government.

Kerich, while delivering the budget, promised to address challenges facing city dwellers. 

School-going children

“Special focus will be placed on the interventions that touch on infrastructure, health care, environment, school-going children, the youth, and expanding the tax base for more revenue to finance development,” said Kerich.

He said the county government will strive to enhance the quality of healthcare while making it affordable, deliver school feeding programmes, ease movement within the county and provide a clean environment. 

Kerich said the county intends to continue using the digital pay service platform for convenience.

He said the introduction of sectional property rates targeting individual houses on a block of apartments will increase rates of income.