NAIROBI CONGESTION MENACE

Licence issuance to matatu Saccos halted over illegal operation claims

County government says 420 unregistered Saccos operate in the central business district

In Summary

• According to a document by the National Transport and Safety Regulations, only 272 registered matatu Saccos operate in the capital city.

• County losing a lot of revenue.

Matatus on Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi on March 30, 2016.
Matatus on Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi on March 30, 2016.
Image: JACK OWUOR

City Hall has stopped the issuance of licences to matatu Saccos.

According to a document by the National Transport and Safety Regulations, only 272 registered matatu Saccos operate in the capital city. It has emerged that another 420 unregistered Saccos have also been operating. 

The previous record by the County Assembly Transport Committee indicated had been 692 Saccos were listed. Last week, the committee, led by chairperson Joyce Muthoni, raised concerns over the 420 unregistered Saccos that had been allocated pick-up and drop-off points in the central business district.

"This is a serious matter because if they are not registered, then how do they pay for the seasonal parking and where does the money go?" Muthoni asked.

The committee pointed out the possibility that among the 420 unregistered Saccos, some might not have reached the required standards to operate.

City Hall Engineer J Kimathi said the county might be losing a lot of revenue. "The difference of the figures is huge. We need to know what is happening with those Saccos, especially on payment regarding seasonal tickets, because they are operating from the CBD, yet we are not collecting money from them," he said.

Utalii MCA Wilson Ochola accused county officers of colluding with the unregistered Saccos to deny the county revenue.

"There is no way 420 saccos can go unnoticed by the county. This reveals a high tendency of corruption and relaxation of enforcement by the county," he said.

However, NTSA licensing manager Jackson Mutua said the 272 registered to operate in Nairobi exclude those that operate outside the capital but terminate their journey in the city. "It doesn't mean they are ghost Saccos, but they are not part of the registered Saccos under Nairobi," he said.

South C MCA Osmaa Khalif revealed that the emerging Saccos are a few that secluded themselves from the main Saccos.

"The small Saccos are those we have seen in the CBD. One particular Sacco has more than one designated pick-up/drop-off point. This has resulted in more chaos and congestion in the CBD," he said.

According to NTSA regulations, for a matatu Sacco to be registered, it requires to have a minimum number of 30 PSVs. The 'new' Saccos were linked with the alleged issuance of fake letters used to allocate stages for them.

City Hall director for parking Tom Tinega recommended that the county and the NTSA fact-check the list of Saccos registered under Nairobi and get the accurate figure.

"By doing this, it will be easier to know the number of Saccos with genuine licences so we can know what we are dealing with and the amount of revenue we expect," he said.

The NTSA wants no more Saccos registered by City Hall before the CBD is decongested. But for its part, the committee asked the NTSA to furnish the county Roads and Transport chief office with the accurate list of all registered Saccos operating and terminating in the county for further action on moderation of registration.

Also, the NTSA was requested to intervene through policy measures to have Saccos merged and regulate the splitting of Saccos and companies. The committee also resolved that the invalid pick-up/drop-off letters be revoked for fresh issuance of valid ones that are renewable periodically and the NTSA to expect communication on the designated person to issue the letters.