Nairobi News

NewsWhat's Hot

No relief for city property owners on rates

Property owners and informal businesses in Nairobi will continue to pay high levies over the next three months after the County Assembly went on recess without passing the Finance Bill.

The Bill had proposed a reduction of land rates from 34 per cent to 25 per cent while informal traders would have been exempted from paying for annual licences.

The property owners and informal businesses are expected to continue paying the old rates contained in Finance Act 2013 until the new law is passed by the assembly which resumes by mid-February.

WIDENING BASE

County Chief Revenue Officer Nixon Otieno said City Hall had hoped to encourage more people to pay levies through various reductions contained in the Finance Bill 2014.

“The idea that we put through this Finance Bill is that we are interested in widening the (collection) base, not increasing the revenue. We want to bring more people into the system,” he said.

Besides rates, he said the Bill includes more favourable charges for liquor licences, and weights and measures fees.

The assembly adjourned last week without passing the Bill as members protested the delay in the implementation of the Ward Development Fund Act.

This means that the Bill which had gone through the first reading has lapsed and would have to be reintroduced when the House reconvenes.

MISS OUT

The House will resume in mid-February and the Bill’s passing could be as late as March or April, less than three months to the end of the financial year.

Most of the annual licences and rates are due between January and March meaning that traders and property owners will miss out on the lower charges.

The county continues to use the Finance Act 2013 saying that provisions of the Public Finance Management Act on timelines for a new Finance Act are just guidelines and not binding.

“Not later than 90 days after passing the Appropriation Bill, the county assembly shall consider and approve the Finance Bill with or without amendments,” says the PFM Act.