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Nairobi homes to pay new fire, pets and garbage fees

City Hall, Nairobi
City Hall, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

All Nairobi households will for the first time be required to pay for fire certificates, garbage collection and inspection of the health of their pets in a raft of new taxes proposed by Governor Mike Sonko’s administration.

The Nairobi City County’s Finance Bill 2019 proposes that all households in the city pay a fire certificate fee of Sh2,000 per annum in addition to new monthly garbage collection charges of Sh100 for informal settlements, Sh300 for middle class estates and Sh600 for high-end suburbs.

Nairobians intending to keep dogs or cats will be charged a Sh1,000 health inspection fee among many other new taxes and levies that residents and businesses in the capital city will pay to finance the county government’s Sh35.2 billion annual budget.

The county has projected that Sh17.32 billion of this budget will be raised through taxes, levies and other charges on city residents.

If adopted, the new fees will see City Hall rake in at least Sh3 billion in fire certifications alone from the estimated 1.5 million Nairobi households.

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The Kenya Integrated Households Budget Survey released last year by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that the city had 1.503 million families as at end of 2016.

Multiple levels

City Hall has introduced or increased multiple levies as it seeks to widen the tax bracket.

Parking fees will double to Sh400 per day under the proposed law.

"The demand for services by far outmatches the ability of the county to deliver, partly because majority of the county’s population enjoy the services without contributing any amount as fees or charges," Nairobi Finance and Economic Planning Executive Charles Kerich said in the county budget speech last month.

This is the second attempt by City Hall to introduce monthly garbage collection fees after MCAs rejected a similar proposal last year.

Under the Bill, primary and secondary schools will pay between Sh3,000 and Sh20,000 depending on the number of learners and whether publicly or privately-owned.

Universities and colleges will be the hardest-hit institutions, paying a range of between Sh20,000 and Sh200,000 depending on the number of registered students.

Residents and travellers will pay Sh2,000 to get booklets on their medical examination at county hospitals as City Hall seeks to raise more cash from its health facilities.

Inspection fees

Nairobians will also pay health inspection fees for all animals imported from other counties.

Guest houses, hotels, shops and other businesses will also pay charges of between Sh2,500 and Sh60,000 per facility based on their capacity.

City Hall has increased by six times occupation certificates for buildings from the current Sh5,000 paid annually to between Sh15,000 and Sh30,000 in what could add inflationary pressure on rent and service charges.

Property owners will pay more in rates starting next January after City Hall adopted a new valuation roll that increases the fees from a range of 25-34 percent of the property depending on its location.

Food outlets, gas vendors and supermarkets are the other businesses hit hard in City Hall’s increased taxes.

Gas vendors will pay a flat rate of Sh30,000 for a fire certificate, nearly seven times more than the Sh4,500 currently charged.

Fish and chips food joints, some of the most popular eating outlets in the city, will now pay Sh12,000 or double the current charge for fire certificates.

New charges

The new charges are contrary to Mr Sonko’s promise to reduce various levies paid by city residents and businesses in a bid to increase compliance and in turn raise the city’s own-source revenue collection.

The Controller of Budget data shows that City Hall generated Sh8.24 billion in own revenues in the first nine months of the year ended June, a 7.9 percent rise from collections made in a similar period in the 2017-18 financial year.

Nairobi’s own source revenue collection has declined year-on-year, with Sh10.1 billion collected in the 2017-18 period down from Sh10.93 billion raised the previous year.

The missed revenue targets have seen City Hall struggle to provide key services like health, schools and the construction and repair of roads.

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