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Counties

City Hall shuts businesses along Moi Avenue over unpaid rates

Nairobi City County headquarters,
City Hall, Nairobi County's headquarters. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

City Hall has closed a number of businesses along Moi Avenue over defaulted land rates in a move to force the traders to settle outstanding fees.

The two buildings are Princely House, which owes Nairobi Sh774, 619 and another building registered under P&L Investment that has not paid Sh739, 251.

The move paralysed activities at Bridge College located in Princely House, M-Pesa outlets, beauty shops and scores of clothes and other businesses.

“All tenants are now directed to pay rent directly to Nairobi City County until all outstanding land rate arrears of…are fully recovered and land rates clearance certificate issued by County Treasury,” read one of the notices.

County director of revenue Agnes Kisaka told the Business Daily that private businesses owe the county more than Sh30 billion in unpaid land rates, stifling the city's ability to deliver services to its residents.

Mrs Kisaka added that the operation will continue across the capital until all the businesses clear their balances.

New measures

The closure of the business is part of new measures passed by the Nairobi County Assembly empowering City Hall to seize and collect rent from homes and office blocks with land rate dues.

This is a shift from the previous law that allowed Nairobi County to restrict access to defaulting property and had no clause demanding that tenants forward rent to City Hall.

The high number of defaulters has raised questions on the county’s ability to recover the in-paid dues from city residents and businesses.

Last November, the auditor-general faulted the Nairobi City County government for failing to put in place adequate measures to collect and clear Sh305.4 billion outstanding rates at the end of the 2016-17 year.

City Hall has failed to hit its revenue targets since 2013.

It raised Sh8.8 billion in the year to last June, a 10 per cent fall from the Sh9.8 billion generated in 2016-17 year.

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