NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The government is the biggest debtor of the City Council of Nairobi, with close to Sh6 billion in unpaid land rates.
City Mayor Godfrey Majiwa said on Wednesday that residents owed the Council a further Sh1 billion, and called for the immediate clearance.
“The government owes this City Council close to Sh6 billion and the same government is looking at the council as if we are not providing services,” said the mayor as he launched the ‘Rate payers’ week’.
He revealed that the week would be used to interact with residents through brochures, electronic and print media as well as consultative forums.
Mr Majiwa said that the activities were meant to facilitate understanding between the council and its stakeholders.
Rates are levies charged on land using various bases as provided in the Valuation for Rating Act.
Mr Majiwa cited the Act which stipulates that defaulters can be sued, or the City Council may recover rates by ordering tenants in rented properties to pay their rent to the Council until all rates due are recovered.
“The law further allows the City Council to put a charge against a property registered under the law against the legal title for the recovery of rates and interest,” he said.
He however emphasised that the only exemptions from the payment of land rates include any land that is used directly and exclusively for public religious worship, charitable institutions and public libraries.
In the meantime, the Mayor pledged to rein in on council askaris who have been accused of harassing residents.
“We are reading the Riot Act to the askaris for them not to harass residents,” he said. “We are also asking the residents to know their rights by obtaining a copy of the by-laws.”