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How cost of living in Nairobi is set to rise on new taxes

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The Nairobi skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The new taxes, contained in the Nairobi City County Finance Bill, 2020, will lead to residents digging deeper into their pockets to pay for the new charges.
  • The Bill proposes several charges as part of measures aimed at raising Sh15.5 billion own-source revenue target for the financial year ending June 30, 2021.
  • Top among the new levies will see offloading of different produce in Nairobi for the first time attract a fee.
  • The Bill is currently before the assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee, which gave the public up to yesterday to submit memoranda on the Bill.

The cost of living in Nairobi is set to rise further should a raft of new proposed levies by the Nairobi County be adopted.

The new taxes, contained in the Nairobi City County Finance Bill, 2020, will lead to residents digging deeper into their pockets to pay for the new charges.

The Bill proposes several charges as part of measures aimed at raising Sh15.5 billion own-source revenue target for the financial year ending June 30, 2021.

Top among the new levies will see offloading of different produce in Nairobi for the first time attract a fee.

Miraa traders will be required to pay Sh50 per small bag, Sh100 per medium bag, Sh500 per Probox and Sh1,000 per pickup while an offloading fee of Sh30 per box of every imported fish.

For tomatoes, the charges will be Sh1,500 per Probox. However, tomatoes from Tanzania will attract between Sh50 and Sh250 per box, depending on their size ranging from very small to extra-large.

Flowers per lorry will attract an offloading fee of Sh3,000, a Probox of avocado Sh800 while a pick-up of the same produce Sh1,500. Groundnuts will be charged Sh100 per bag while thorn melons will attract Sh50 per box.

A tonne of macadamia and French beans will be charged at Sh1,000 each while all other items will attract between Sh100 and Sh500 per pickup and lorry respectively.

The property industry has also been hit with new charges for transporting building materials. Transporting building stones will attract a seasonal charge of between Sh48,000 and Sh144,000, depending on the tonnage with the option to pay per trip.

For the hardcore, the charges will be between Sh24,000 and Sh120,000 while for sand and ballast will be Sh48,000 and Sh120,000.

Transfer of properties, under the tenant purchase scheme, will also for the first time be charged Sh10,000 per transfer.

New charges will also be levied for learning institutions for disposal of solid waste with daycare and nurseries charged between Sh3,000 and Sh20,000 depending on whether they are private or public and the number of pupils.

For day secondary, the charges will be between Sh2,500 and Sh10,000, boarding secondary schools between Sh3,000 and Sh20,000 while universities and colleges will pay between Sh20,000 and Sh200,000 a month.

For residential houses, it will be Sh300 and Sh600 per household every month, a fee that was not there in 2018 while for community-based organisations (CBO) solid waste collection and transportation will attract a charge of Sh3,000 for trucks between one and seven tonnes and Sh6,000 for those above seven tonnes.

The Bill also proposes a new charge of Sh6,000 per annum for storing inflammable materials for liquefied petroleum gas sellers and own use and petroleum for own use.

Premises, including hardware, cafes, bars and shops, will also part with the same amount. For chemists, the charges will be between Sh6,500 and Sh12,000, depending on their size.

Disposal of non-toxic and non-hazardous industrial waste will also attract a levy of Sh1,000 per tonne.

At the same time, the Bill, presented before the county assembly on Tuesday, is also proposing an increase in several taxes, charges, fees, levies and penalties.

The Bill is currently before the assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee, which gave the public up to yesterday to submit memoranda on the Bill.

Budget and Appropriations Committee chairperson Robert Mbatia said the charges are proposals that might be revised or maintained after getting views from the public as well as justification from the City Hall.

“We are set to have an entry meeting with the county treasury to justify the charges and the basis for the same. Thereafter we will have a sitting with the sectorial to give their inputs then finally we sit down with the sectorial reports and the public views then we make a decision that after the submission of the memoranda, we will meet City Hall, NMS (Nairobi Metropolitan Services) and KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) to justify the charges,” he said, adding that the charges are compared to the 2018 levies as the 2019 Bill was never gazetted to become a law.

Concerning disaster and emergency management, each household will have to part with a new Sh2,000 per year as a fire certificate fee. For supermarkets, hypermarkets will part with Sh40,000 while mega ones with Sh30,000 up from Sh25,000 uniform charges levied in 2018.

For fish and chips café, the charges will be maintained at Sh4,500 for small ones while for the large ones, the charges have been doubled to Sh12,000 from Sh6,000.

Bars and restaurants with 100 seats and below will pay Sh4,500, the medium ones Sh12,000 up from Sh4,500 charged in 2018 while the large ones will have to part with Sh25,000 up from Sh6,000 in 2018.

Small-scale gas sellers will pay a flat rate of Sh30,000 an increase of more than Sh25,000 from the Sh4,500 charge in 2018. On the other hand, gas filling stations will have to part with Sh100,000 from Sh25,000 in 2018.

Traders occupying buildings will pay between Sh5,000 and Sh30,000 as occupation certificate fees an increase from the flat rate of Sh5,000 in 2018.

For professional bodies, the fee will be between Sh6,000 and Sh20,000. Insurance companies between Sh12,000 and Sh25,000 up from between Sh4,500 and Sh12,000 in 2018. Highrise and commercial buildings with up to four floors will part with Sh12,000 and for those with more than four floors will pay Sh14,000.

However, it will be a relief for petrol stations, which will part with Sh12,000 for small ones, Sh25,000 for the medium ones and Sh50,000 for the large ones down from Sh100,000 uniform charge in 2018.

“Fire inspection fee shall be charged per visit with all chargeable services to be charged at a minimum of Sh4,500,” reads the bill.

For private motorists, the Bill proposes a return to zonal daily on-street parking fees where motorists will have to part with Sh400 daily up from the current Sh200 to park in the central business district (CBD) as well as Kijabe Street as part of Zone I.

The parking fees for Zone II covering Westlands, Yaya Centre, Upper Hill, Community, Ngara, Highridge, Industrial area, Gigiri, Kilimani, Milimani, Hurlingham, Lavington, Karen and Eastleigh will be Sh300.

Parking in Zone III, which include all areas, not in Zone I and II or residential areas not included in the CBD and other zones, will attract a fee of Sh200 while those in Zone IV, which is areas bordering other counties will part with Sh100.

An attempt to introduce similar charges last financial year was halted after Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) went to court and successfully obtained a suspension of the levies, reverting the fees to a flat rate of Sh200.

For buses (non-matatus), the charges will be Sh1,000 same as for lorries of between three and 10 tonnes while trucks will part with Sh3,000.

Private vehicles will part with Sh7,000 monthly, Sh18,000 every three months, Sh32,000 for six months or Sh55,000 in a year.

“All online taxi applications will deduct parking fee from source for all vehicles on their platform,” reads the bill.

Using parking slots for offloading only will attract between Sh200 and Sh1,000 depending they type of vehicle while the loss of an off-street parking ticket will cost Sh1,000.

Parking at the Country Bus Station will attract Sh150 for the first one hour and Sh50 for 15 minutes after the first hour.

Matatus will part with between Sh3,650 and Sh37,960 for seasonal tickets, which will be paid through registered saccos, minibuses between Sh5,280 and Sh47,520 and buses between Sh7,200 and Sh61,920. The seasonal tickets range from a month, three months, half-year and annually.

Charges for solid waste management, disposal of domestic waste will attract a fee of Sh300 per tonne, an increase of Sh100 from 2018, Sh600 for commercial or institution waste, an increase of Sh200, Sh800 per tonne to dispose of expired foodstuff while collection and tipping of construction waste will be charged at Sh2,000 per tonne up from Sh250 in 2018.

Restaurants will be charged between Sh2,500 and Sh10,000 per month, depending on the number of seats up from between Sh2,000 and Sh6,000 in 2018 while guest houses will part with between Sh2,500 and Sh8,000.

More charges

Hotels will pay between Sh3,000 and Sh50,000 depending on their category. Religious institutions will part with between Sh5,000-Sh10,000, depending on their size up from Sh2,000 in 2018 while office apartments or blocks will be charged between Sh2,000-Sh60,000 depending on the number of rooms up from between Sh1,000-Sh10,000 in 2018.

Miraa outlets and groceries will be charged Sh2,000 a month, butcheries between Sh2,000 and Sh5,000, pharmacies from Sh2,000 and Sh6,000, bars between Sh3,000 and Sh5,000.

Other charges include Sh1,000 per every medical examination booklet and Sh3,000 per inspection per site for inspection of pest control as well as Sh10,000 for a licence to operate a plant nursery or to get a tree cutting business licence.

Slaughtering fee for cattle will be charged at Sh500 for cattle, Sh200 for sheep and goats, the same as pigs and Sh50 for poultry.

For local imports from upcountry, the health inspection fee will be charged at Sh500 for cattle, Sh150 for sheep or goat, Sh250 for pigs and donkeys, dogs and cats Sh1,000 and Sh25 per bird.

For carcasses, the re-inspection fee will be Sh250 for cattle, Sh50 for sheep and goat, Sh100 for pigs and Sh10 per bird.

For traders, a fee of Sh200 will be charged per week across all the major markets in the county including Gikomba, Toi, Fig Tree, Adams, Maziwa, Tena, Outer Ring stage, Ngong Road, Jogoo Road furniture or a daily charge of Sh50.

For modern stalls, the charges will be Sh750 per month up from Sh500 in 2018, Sh1,000 monthly for operating at a bus park up from Sh500 in 2018 as well as a Sh3,000 one-off registration fee.