Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has said he will revoke a legal notice his administration had gazetted allowing for introduction of some taxes in this year’s Finance Bill.
He has also said he will do away with contentious levies proposed in the new Bill.
Governor Sonko claimed that he was not consulted and that the legal notice was gazetted without his approval and signature. He appealed to the Nairobi County Assembly to use all legal ways possible to have it revoked.
“I have not signed anything and I was not consulted on the same. We should be meeting before tabling any proposals affecting Nairobi people and as the governor, there is no notice that can be gazetted without my knowledge.
“There is no way you can bypass me and the assembly and propose sensitive issues touching on things that affect Wanjiku (the common mwananchi),” added Mr Sonko.
He was speaking in Mombasa on Wednesday during a meeting with the assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee and members of the executive over the Finance Bill.
According to the gazette notice by Finance and Economic Planning Executive Charles Kerich, Nairobi residents were to start paying the new taxes which include increased parking fees, new charges for garbage collection, fire certificates and inspection for cats and dogs effective July 19, 2019.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 2 of the Nairobi County Provisional Collection of Revenue Act, 2013, the County Executive Committee Member for Finance and Economic Planning orders that all provisions of the Bill relating to taxes, fees, charges, levies and penalties shall have effect as though the Bill were passed into law,” read the Legal Notice 3.
On September 6, 2013, the assembly passed the Nairobi County Provisional Collection of Revenue Act, enabling the executive to effect sections of a Finance bill without going through the complete process of enactment by the county assembly.
Under the Nairobi City County Provisional Collection of Revenue Act of 2013, City Hall can collect taxes under a provisional arrangement for up to six months.
MCAs, nevertheless, opposed the implementation of the taxes before their debate and adoption, terming the move as illegal, with the chairman of the Budget and Appropriations committee Robert Mbatia saying the Act the executive used had been challenged and declared unlawful.
The county legislators have until September, or 90 days from the day the Finance Bill 2019 was gazetted, to approve or amend the tax proposals.
Last week on Thursday, three activists moved to court to stop the county government from passing the Bill into law, arguing that there was no public participation.
But in what will come as a relief to most Nairobi residents, the City Hall boss ordered for the removal of “unrealistic charges” that he said will only be a burden to the common mwananchi.
Key among the levies he wants abolished are fees charged for garbage collection in learning institutions and religious bodies, the Sh25 charged for arrival of a chicken into the city from upcountry and fire inspection certificate charges.
In the proposed levies, religious bodies such as mosques, churches and temples were to pay between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 monthly depending on their size.
But Mr Sonko said that the proposed new Sh400 daily parking fee for motorists in the central business district, current charges for billboards, Sh50,000 for cutting trees in the capital and Sh100,000 charge for cattle from other counties found loitering in the city will remain.
“Charges like parking fee in the city centre will have to increase to Sh400 because we want to decongest the city by having the fees go up,” he said.