Counties

Mombasa goes digital to nab rates defaulters

mombasa

A section of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Work on the digital network began in earnest last Friday with the installation of metallic labelling plates on all buildings in the city for ease of monitoring.
  • The plates have quick response (QR) codes with information on the buildings.
  • The range of information in the QR codes includes the plot number, name of building owner, status of land rates payment and when the building was last painted.
  • Edward Nyale, the county Land Executive, said the current manual system of information management had made it difficult for the county government to track down land rates defaulters.

The Mombasa county government has launched a digital platform that will help track defaulters who owe the county millions of shillings in unpaid land rates.

Work on the digital network began in earnest last Friday with the installation of metallic labelling plates on all buildings in the city for ease of monitoring.

The plates have quick response (QR) codes with information on the buildings.

The range of information in the QR codes includes the plot number, name of building owner, status of land rates payment and when the building was last painted.

Edward Nyale, the county Land Executive, said the current manual system of information management had made it difficult for the county government to track down land rates defaulters.

In March, the number of defaulters in the county stood at 30,000, but Mr Nyale said that number had significantly reduced in recent weeks as a number of property owners rushed to make payments ahead of the digital system launch.

“With the QR code our officers will be able to know the land defaulters and deal with them according to the law. We are using technology to consolidate most of our services to ease our work,” he said.

Transport, Infrastructure and Public Works Executive Tawfiq Balala, whose department is working with the Land counterparts to establish the digital platform, said the system will be fully operational in two months’ time.

Mr Balala said that will happen when ongoing labelling of buildings in the central business district (CBD) is done.

The labelling is being done using numbers and street names.

The initial phase of the programme will cover the CBD starting with the main roads such as Moi Avenue, Digo Road and Nkrumah Road. “It will be of no importance if we let the new look fade away without maintaining it. Our aim is to make Mombasa the most beautiful city in Africa,” Mr Balala said.

Building owners are now required to paint them in November of every even year, meaning that the next round of painting should happen in 2020.

Mr Balala said the beautification programme will be done alongside introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that should help de-congest the city.

The Mombasa county government in March ordered owners of residential and commercial buildings in the CBD to paint them white and blue. The property owners were also required to clean and refurbish all walkways near their premises.

Constructors have been repairing the pavements with red bricks, and the county government has announced that such paths will in future be paved with blister tactile surface.

The purpose of the blister surface is to provide a warning to visually impaired people, who find it difficult to know where the footway ends and the carriageway begins.