OVERTAXED

Finance bill charges punitive, says residents association

Say bill is not clear on parking which may lead to charging residents for parking outside their homes

In Summary

• They say garbage collection fees will be double taxation as 'majority of residents pay for private waste management'. 

• They want fire inspection charges dropped saying cases of fire are not a guarantee. 

Kenya Alliance of Residents Association CEO Henry Ochieng before the Nairobi county assembly Finance, Budget and Appropriation committee on August 8 at City Hall
UNNECESSARY CHARGES: Kenya Alliance of Residents Association CEO Henry Ochieng before the Nairobi county assembly Finance, Budget and Appropriation committee on August 8 at City Hall
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

The Kenya Alliance of Residents Association has opposed the proposed Nairobi City County Finance Bill 2019 saying some of the charges are punitive and unnecessary.

Kara claimed most of the charges will be a burden to the taxpayers who are already being overtaxed and wants some clauses in the bill dropped. 

Appearing before the Assembly's Finance, Budget and Appropriation Committee on Thursday, Kara’s CEO Henry Ochieng said charges of solid waste management are not justifiable since the majority of the households in the city pay private waste collectors.

"The county government has failed to provide waste management services in most neighbourhoods. The charges proposed in the bill will amount to double taxation," Ochieng said.

They want the charges deleted. 

The bill proposes a monthly garbage collection fee of Sh200 from informal settlements, Sh300 from medium estates and Sh600 from upmarket and CBD.  Ochieng also suggested deletion of the annual fire certificate fee of Sh2,000 and fire inspection fee per visit. 

According to Kara, the charge is not necessary for households because there is no guarantee residents will get services as fire cases are not guaranteed. 

The bill also proposes Sh500 slaughter fee for cattle, Sh200 for goats, sheep and pigs and Sh10 for poultry. 

Kara wants it to be deleted because it is not enforceable especially at the residential level. 

On street parking, Kara said the bill lacks clarification which may lead to charging for parking outside one's house. 

In the bill, it was highlighted that Nairobi will have different parking fees depending on the zones the motorists park.

Motorists will be charged Sh400 to park in the CBD, Sh300 in Zone Two (Parklands, Westlands, Upperhill), Sh200 for Zone Three (Muthurwa and areas near city centre) and Sh100 for Zone Four (residential areas). 

The association also condemned the county government for 'not involving wananchi before the drafting and enacting the bill'.

On Friday, three activists moved to court to stop the county government from passing the bill into law. Mulialia Okumu, Rajab Walale and David Otieno argued that there was no public participation.

This comes after the Finance and Economic Planning Department issued a legal notice to the county assembly indicating that the executive would use the Nairobi County Provisional Collection of Revenue Act of 2013 to effect parts of the Finance Bill.

The notice took effect on July 19. 

According to court documents, the assembly on September 6, 2013, passed the Nairobi County Provisional Collection of Revenue Act, which enabled the executive to effect sections of a Finance bill without going through the complete process of enactment by the county assembly.

Nairobi county government and county assembly have been named as respondents. 

The public participation exercise is supposed to end on August 16. 

"It is our plea that some of our views will be considered in the bill. The association has been in existence for nine years and their mandate is to ensure consumers are able to access services without any difficulties," Ochieng said. 

He pointed out that the association supports the initiative by the county to amend legislation to raise revenue but "they cannot allow levies to be raised to an extent where people have to choose to either cater for basic needs or pay taxes".

Budget Committee chairman Robert Mbatia said, "We shall put everything into consideration and ensure the final Bill accommodates all wananchi." 

Edited by R.Wamochie