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Parking fee suit derails projects

A suit filed by matatu owners challenging new parking rates threatens several development programmes in the city. More than Sh1 billion is at stake.

According to a senior Revenue officer at City Hall, about Sh100 million a month in additional revenue was to be raised.

The 2013/2014 budget proposed numerous new levies with parking fee being the major one. Money from parking was expected to fund various projects as well as honouring the Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between City Hall and its workers.

On Tuesday last week, Justice George Odunga shelved implementation of the new parking rates until the suit is determined. Twenty-six matatu saccos had moved to court arguing that the levies were punitive.

The new Finance Act 2013 that raises parking fee from Sh140 to Sh300 was to take effect on November 1.

Among the capital projects Governor Evans Kidero has put in focus are rehabilitation of Pumwani Hospital, City Funeral Home and a number of health centres at a cost Sh1.8 billion. Others are roads maintenance and drainage, street lighting, and purchase of equipment.

New rates

According to the Executive Secretary for Finance, Gregory Mwakanongo, the City government had hoped to collect Sh200 million from the new rates to effect the workers’ pay rise.

“With the CBA, we are revising workers’ salaries and this will cost us Sh200 million. We will rely on implementation of the new rates to achieve this,” he said.

But even as the City government laments over this, motorists and Nairobians are breathing a sigh of relief because higher parking fees would have had a spiral effect.

Fares will likely rise as matatus and bus owners move to cushion themselves against the hike.