Nairobi County has raised fire inspection certificate charges despite criticism over its slow response to frequent infernos that have led to deaths and loss of property.
Though the county collected Sh1.63 billion in fire inspection revenue between July 2013 and February 2019, it has only two functional fire stations, all built before independence, and only 120 trained firefighters serving a population of over four million.
In the new charges contained in the county’s 2019 Finance Bill, every household will for the first time be required to pay Sh2,000 every year for a fire inspection certificate.
Professional bodies will also for the first time pay for occupation certificates, parting with Sh6,000 for medium buildings and Sh20,000 for large ones.
Bars and restaurants have been hit hard, with charges more than doubled. Medium-sized bars and restaurants will part with Sh12,000, up from Sh4,500 in the last financial year. But bars with 100 seats will still pay Sh4,500.
Larger ones will now pay Sh25,000, a whopping Sh19,000 more than the previous year’s charge.
Gas filling stations have also had their charges quadrupled from Sh25,000 to Sh100,000 this year. Small-scale gas sellers will pay a flat rate of Sh30,000, up from Sh4,500 in the previous financial year.
However, there is relief for petrol station owners, who will no longer pay the standard Sh100,000 annual fire certificate fee. Stations have been classified into small, medium and large, which will now be charged Sh12,000, Sh25,000 and Sh50,000, respectively.
The other sectors that will also be hit hard by the new levies are insurance, real estate and retail.
Supermarkets will no longer pay the standard Sh25,000 annual fee to get the fire inspection certificate but will now pay depending on their size. Hypermarkets will pay Sh40,000 while mega ones will part with Sh30,000 annually.
Small fish-and-chips cafes will pay the same Sh4,500 as last year but larger ones will have to pay double the Sh6,000 they were paying last year.
Insurance companies will also have to dig deeper into their coffers for the same levy by paying Sh12,000 for medium firms and Sh25,000 for large ones, up from Sh4,500 and Sh12,000 in the previous financial year, respectively.