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City Hall online payment platform breaks down

The Nairobi County government’s online payment platform has broken down, leaving residents unable to access a number of services offered by City Hall.

The platform, Nairobi City County ePayments portal, has been out of service for the past two weeks and is yet to be restored, with the county government also staring at losing millions of shillings in revenue as a result as it has been hard to pay for various county services.

The portal is used in payment of single business permits, fire inspection certificate, land rates, application, and renewal of health and food handlers’ certificate.

Other services include parking, betting control permit verification, liquor permit verification, adverts verification, e-construction verification as well as miscellaneous bill payments.

A visit to City Hall has not yielded fruits with food handlers being turned away.

“We will be back soon! Sorry for the inconvenience but we are performing some maintenance at the moment,” is the message that is received by anyone who attempts to log onto the site.

“If you need to you can always contact us, otherwise we’ll be back online shortly!”

The most hit sector by the crashing of the site are eateries and liquor stores as application and renewal of health and food handlers’ certificate as well as liquor permit is done regularly.

Consequently, food handlers in the city have been forced to physically go to City Hall to seek the services, which is also not been forthcoming.

“I have tried applying for the certificate online but the website has been down for weeks. I then decided to go to City Hall Annex only to be turned away being told that I have to wait for the website to function again,” said a food handler in the city.

City Hall went digital in the issuance of food handlers certificates last year in a bid to speed up the processing of the certificates in a bid to speed up the processing of the certificates.

The then Nairobi County Health chief officer Mohamed Sahal said the move to digitize the process was to see the turnaround time from payment, testing, and certification of food handlers reduced by 50 per cent with laboratory results submitted online for approval and subsequent issuance of certificate.

He said going forward, the food handlers would now be required to pay for the food handling certificates online either through M-Pesa or other payment platforms.

The new development will eat into the Ann Kananu-led administration’s own source revenue with the county government staring at losing millions in revenue with a month to go to the end of the current financial year ending June 30, 2021.

According to revenue data by City Hall, the city county gets at least Sh135 million monthly as payments for e-construction permits, seasonal parking Sh100.6 million, daily parking Sh36.42 million, parking penalties Sh1.64 million and off street parking Sh797, 400.

In addition, rent collected from tenants living in houses owned by the county rake in Sh46.87 million, payment for liquour licenses brought in Sh41.1 million while payments for fire extinguishers stood at Sh77.66 million.

Bill payments recorded Sh62.28 million, market stalls licenses Sh8.83 million, health permits bring in over Sh6.5 million with regularization at Sh443, 600.

City Hall has missed its revenue target for the third quarter of the current financial year by a whopping Sh2.5 billion.

The county government realised only Sh4.1 billion between January and March 2021, against a target of Sh6.6 billion.