Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Wednesday directed the County Executive to withdraw the legal notice that allowed for immediate implementation of the 2019 Finance Bill.
The Governor called for further consultation on a raft of proposed charges contained in the bill. He directed that places of religious worship should not be charged for waste collection, and the fee charged to small dealers of cooking gas be reduced from Sh30,000 per year, back to the previous rate of Sh4,500 per year.
Governor Sonko however said the proposed increment of parking fees to Sh400 within the CBD must be enforced, but other areas outside the city centre will pay less.
“We must decongest the CBD and the enhanced parking will assist to achieve this. Other areas will be charged depending on the zone,” Sonko said.
He was speaking when he joined staff of the County Government and members of the Nairobi County Assembly Committee on Finance, Budget and Appropriation to review the 2019 Finance Bill proposals.
He urged the committee and members of the executive to consider creating an environment that will encourage entrepreneurship and not kill the hopes of young men who are struggling to make ends meet in the City.
“We have to be careful not to kill the hopes of our young people out there by coming up with outrageous charges,” Sonko said.
The Nairobi County Government is targeting to raise Sh17.3 billion in its own source revenue. In the financial year ended June 30th, the county raised Sh10.17 billion, a 1% increase from the Sh10.1 billion raised the previous year.
The Governor acknowledged that the county has to do everything possible to meet its revenue targets but he said that should not mean imposing a tax burden to the residents.
The Governor called on all sectors and the enforcement department to work hard to attain the target.
“Last year, we collected Sh10.1 billion and the previous year we managed almost the same amount. We have to do whatever we can to raise the figure,” Sonko noted.
The chairman of the budget committee, Robert Mbatia said key sectors had not agreed on the ultimate charges necessary hence the need for the consultative meeting.
“In principal, once we have the Finance Bill, that should be the end of our engagement with the executive but we came here to see what is possible,” Mbatia said.
Finance Executive Charles Kerich had issued memorandum to effect some changes through a legal notice.
Sonko said the County Government must put extra effort to reduce its pending bills and debts, including a debt swap with the National Government that owes the county government money in lieu of rates and parking.
Governor also called on the national government to fast-track the payment of a Sh200 billion debt owed to the county.