Nairobi County government’s proposed levies continue to elicit mixed reactions, with many people saying they will overburden already overtaxed residents.
Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) secretary-general Stephen Mutoro termed the new charges impractical, adding that they will open an avenue for fraudsters to harass city residents into giving bribes.
He noted that there was no public participation in the formulation of the charges, thus they legally stand on quicksand.
“How some of them will be implemented raises big questions because City Hall does not have a proper database of households and residents,” he said.
Isolating the proposed solid waste management charge, Mr Mutoro observed, the county has been unable to offer the service, leaving it to the private sector.
“We urge the county to live within its means. Nairobi residents have no reason to accept the new rates,” said Mr Mutoro, adding that taxation must be proportionate to service delivery.
Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (Kara) chief executive Henry Ochieng said that most of the taxes do not make sense, adding that they should be dropped from the Bill.
He isolated taxes on fire extinguishers and inspection of animals as unnecessary.
“We are against the rates and we have engaged the County Assembly. We will put forward our submission to the budget committee,” said Mr Ochieng.
The Kara boss termed the whole taxation plan an exercise in futility, calling on the county government to take a step back and reflect.
“Even if we agree that the county should levy the taxes, where is the guarantee that they will take up the role of managing garbage as they have failed before. Our contention is that they are going to continue collecting taxes from people and not provide services,” he said.
Under the new levies, all Nairobi households will pay a fire certificate fee of Sh2,000 per annum in addition to new monthly garbage collection charges of Sh100 for informal settlements, Sh300 for middle-class estates and Sh600 for high-end suburbs.
Residents intending to keep dogs or cats will be charged a Sh1,000 health inspection fee.
City Hall has introduced or increased the levies as it seeks to widen the tax bracket to meet a revenue target of Sh17.32 billion this financial year.
“The demand for services by far outmatches the ability of the county to deliver. The majority of the county’s population enjoy the services without contributing any amount,” Nairobi Finance and Economic Planning Executive Charles Kerich said during the county budget speech last month.
Nairobi residents have pointed out some of the proposals as laughable. For instance, importing animals from upcountry will attract a health inspection fee of Sh500 for cattle, Sh1,000 for dog or cat, Sh250 for donkey, Sh150 for sheep or goat and Sh25 per bird.
For the carcasses, Sh10 per bird, Sh100 for a dead pig, Sh50 for sheep and goat and Sh250 for cattle.