Parking fees go up Friday

October 29, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, October 29 – Motorists in Nairobi will from Friday start paying Sh140 to park in the city.

The new charges are expected in this week’s Kenya Gazette after Local government Minister Musalia Mudavadi gave an approval early in the week.

The Director of Legal Affairs at City Hall, Mary Ng’ethe told Capital News on Wednesday that her department was doing the final touches on the law. “The new charges should start immediately, let’s say by Friday when we hope to be done, but we will notify people,” she said.

A decision to double the fees from the current Sh70 was passed by a full council meeting last week as the Council seeks to increase its revenue. Ms Ng’ethe added that the move also aimed to decongest the city streets.

“There are very many private parking (bays) but people are not parking there. Probably it is because the city council is charging too little. So if we increase and it is at the same level with private ones then probably they will go there and you find that the streets will be freer,” she stated.

Mr Mudavadi justified the new charges on Monday adding that it was still way below what private companies charged. “Private bays charge Sh100 for an hour, where one ends up paying Sh500 a day. So if you compare that with Sh140 really there is no issue,” Mr Mudavadi said.

The Deputy Premier argued that the new charges would affect the upper class in society. The charges have however attracted dissent from the public which is already grappling with hard economic times. Most of those interviewed by Capital News dismissed the assertion that the move would help reduce congestion in the capital.

The National Council of Community-Based Organisations registered their protest on Wednesday and said that the council should have first concentrated in rooting out the corruption which has dominated the parking exercise.

Chairman Tom Aosa said a survey carried by his organisation between June last year and May this year showed that City Hall loses more than Sh1.8 million daily owing to the use of fake parking tickets. Mr Aosa added that the city has over 50,000 parking slots contrary to the council’s records which indicate 26,000. He said that the organisation had forwarded their report to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission for action.

“We cannot allow the City Council to take our money and yet we don’t get the services we pay for. Even after you pay the money you (will not be) guaranteed of a slot,” he said, adding that the motorists are also not assured of the security of their vehicles. A cartel operating in the city centre is notorious for vandalising vehicles, especially side mirrors and lights.

Ms Ng’ethe however said the Council was working on automating the services to curb on corruption. It also hopes to increase the number of booths in a move that will see the parking attendants phased out. “There have been many complaints about our attendants and the fake receipts which we want to minimise. The automation idea has been discussed in the council meeting and in the next one year we will be on the ground,” she said.

She, in the meantime, said that the Local Government Ministry was working towards harmonising the Tobacco Act and the bylaws. This follows the lifting of a ban prohibiting people from smoking on the city streets by the parent ministry early in the week. She said that the recent interpretation given by the Attorney general superseded the by-laws.

“The law is very clear that if there is any inconsistency between the by-laws and an Act of Parliament, the Act supersedes. When we formulated the by-law the act was not there,” she said and clarified that council employees were now implementing the Act and not the by-law and are therefore not arresting smokers on the streets.



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