EDITORIAL: City Hall should deliver

city hall


With a stroke of the pen, the Nairobi county government has changed the law to acquire power that allows it to seize rental incomes of properties that default on land rates.

This is part of the devolved government’s effort to tighten the rules in order to recover Sh15 billion in uncollected real estate fees.

By any standards, Sh15 billion arrears is an unsightly haul that threatens the survival of a capital city that requires adequate revenues to meet its obligations.

It has become clear that this mountain of arrears is borne out of the fact that 90 per cent of land and property owners are rate defaulters.

City Hall’s revenue collection remains below the target, if the Sh10.2 billion realised up to June against Sh17.2 billion target is anything to go by.

Fact however is that any demand for payment of fees or rates should be tied to service provision. Very little of that appears to be happening judging from the state of Nairobi’s roads, the traffic lights, garbage collection and similar basic services.

While it is proper for City Hall to seek to collect more revenue, there is need to prove beyond doubt that this drive is informed by a demonstrable desire to provide better services for residents. Anything less would be questionable and expressly unacceptable.