City Hall warns traders over 2015 licence renewal
Nairobi traders who have not renewed their annual licences risk arrest for operating illegal businesses, City Hall has warned in a departure from the tradition of offering a three-month grace period to acquire the permits.
County secretary Lilian Ndegwa has warned that traders who had not renewed their licences by January 2 would face legal action.
County enforcement officers have also been informing traders of an imminent crackdown on those without valid permits, indicating an unusual urgency by City Hall.
“Business community are hereby reminded to renew their 2015 Single Business Permits before the due date as inspection and enforcement including arrests and prosecution of those not compliant will start from January 2, 2015,” said Ms Ndegwa in a notice.
Sources at City Hall said that the urgency is linked to the cash crunch that the county has been experiencing because of delayed remittance of funds from the national government.
Salaries have been delayed multiple times due to this disbursement inconsistency by the Treasury, causing friction with the workers union.
Attempts to secure a Sh1.5 billion monthly overdraft that would remove these inconsistencies were late last year thwarted when nine members of the county assembly blocked the move in court.
Single business permits expire at the end of the year and become due on January 1, although the county has typically given businesses up to end of March to pay up.
Finance Executive Gregory Mwakanongo said that businessmen are aware that the permits are renewable before January and any trader operating without a valid 2015 permit is doing so illegally.
He did not indicate when the county would take action on defaulters, saying that for now they are being lenient.
“It’s not in our interest to prosecute because we don’t want to inconvenience businesses. We are being lenient so that people can renew and that’s why we put up the notice to remind them to pay up,” he said.
Beyond March 31, those who will not have paid for their permits will incur a three per cent penalty on the outstanding amount.
Single business permit charges vary according to the nature and size of operations.
Equally, those who hold loading zone spots and have not paid for them have one month before they are converted to regular parking bays or are offered to other businesses.
Businesses that usually require the space include supermarkets, banks and forex bureaus. A standard size parking bay in the Central Business District costs Sh200,000 per annum.
Businesses will, however, have an easytime paying for these services since the county has shifted payments for all its services to an e-platforms.