By Adieri Mulaa
we cannot falter now. Let us help the president to deliver in Nairobi and build on his legacy – Imwatok
Nairobi County does not collect over Ksh75.6 billion in accruing rates, revenue which could propel the capital city to astronomical levels of development and service delivery, a study has revealed.
The study conducted by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) in partnership with the European Union, further indicates another whopping Ksh112, 687, 232, 305 billion is not mapped in the County Geographic Information System.
This, effectively means that substantial rate arrears are not captured in the County revenue information systems.
Hence, a the city county government, according to the study, could be losing Ksh 188, 319, 036, 995 billion in uncollected rates, says a report of the County Assembly quoting the study by CRA – a Constitutional commission.
During a special plenary sitting on Thursday last week, Jubilee MCAs mounted a vicious attempt to derail a vital county policy instrument, which will enable President Uhuru Kenyatta to rejuvenate Nairobi City.
However, their action was nipped in the bud from the chair by House Speaker Beatrice Elachi.
Through a lethal move, Majority leader Charles Thuo, backed by several other disgruntled Jubilee party members caused a temporary stalemate in the House.
By concerted effort, Mr Thuo created a standoff as he made frantic attempts on the floor, to block a Motion on Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2020 – a policy framework for revenue collection and management in Nairobi City County.
In an open show of defiance to the chair, Mr Thuo walked out of the Chamber after the Speaker declined to yield to his demands to have the crucial Motion dropped.
Consequently, the Majority Leader earned the wrath of Speaker Elachi who suspended him from the plenary sessions for one week.
Trouble began when the chairman of the Finance, Budget and Appropriations Committee, Chege Mwaura moved a Motion for the Assembly to consider and adopt a report of a joint committee on the Sessional Paper.
The report was earlier tabled in the County Assembly on 8th July, 2020 for approval. It is a product of the Select Committee on Fiance, Budget and Appropriations chaired by Mr Mwaura; and the Sectoral Committee on Energy and ICT chaired by Baba Dogo Ward MCA Geophrey Majiwa (ODM).
The Leader of Majority argued that he was substantively the one mandated to move all matters pertaining to business of the county government in the House.
However, the walkout by Jubilee party MCAs did not cause a quorum hitch which was seemingly anticipated, thanks to the Handshake. The Motion was eventually seconded by Mr Majiwa, a co – chair of the joint committee which came up with report.
While supporting the Motion, Majority Chief Whip June Ndegwa, told the House the county government was losing so much revenue due to inadequacy in policy framework.
She said the president and former prime minister Raila Odinga have seen the need to restore Nairobi to the desired status as the capital city and regional business hub.
“Nairobi is the spine of this country. If it cannot collect the revenue it is supposed to, a lot will be lost to this country”, she said.
Madam speaker, we are saying no to innuendos and propaganda. The Nairobi Metropolitan Services will operate by this Sessional Paper 1 of 2020, Ms Ndegwa told that House.
Contributing to the Motion, Makongeni MCA and the Minority Chief Whip, Anyule Imwatok said the County Assembly will define the state of the county.
“We cannot falter now. Let us help the president to deliver in Nairobi and build on his legacy”, said the Minority Chief Whip.
When she rose to speak, Deputy Leader of Majority, Millicent Mugadi apologised to the House on behalf of Jubilee members over their conduct during the special sitting.
“As I support this Motion madam speaker, I also want to apologise on behalf of Jubilee members and promise that we will put our house in order”, Ms Mugadi submitted.
Embakasi Ward MCA Michael Ogada (ODM) said revenue collection was a major problem in Nairobi county. He noted that many times, executive had also ignored proposals approved by the Assembly on improvement of revenue collection.
He also blamed the porous county revenue collection systems the obtaining financial problems.
“The revenue systems are porous. We must come up with a system that will seal loopholes and contracted revenue collectors being changed midstream”, Ogada told the House.
Mr Ogada said the county government had no policy procedures on revenue collection.
He recalled how the Assembly had last year passed a Revenue Collection Bill last year but Governor Mike Sonko never assented to it. The Bill would have sealed loopholes in the County revenue systems, he said.
Kayole Central Ward MCA, Jeremiah Themendu (Jubilee) said “in the Sessional Paper, we have found the medicine to cure revenue drop in Nairobi county”.
While contributing to the debate, Mr Themendu said the NMS train left the station long time ago and it cannot be stopped along the way.
“Madam speaker, someone wants to hold us hostage but we are going to support Motions brought to the House by the NMS for nairobians”, he said.
Kilimani Ward MCA Moses Ogeto said if the leader of majority wants to behave abnormally, the House would not accept.
In his contribution, Utawala Ward MCA Patrick Karani (Jubilee) revealed that Nairobi county government was using a very outdated revenue collection system which was developed in 1998 for the defunct local authorities.
“The system cannot apply in the modern digital technology era. Nairobi City County government is still operating like the defunct City Council and it needs to adopt radical change”, Mr Karani said.
He noted that in the past political good will to streamline operations at City Hall was lacking.
Mary Ariviza (nominated ODM) following the Deed of Transfer signed by Governor Sonko, delivery of major services and revenue collection in the city was now the mandate of the national government.
“The NMS originated at State House and not at the Nairobi County Assembly. Once he signed the Deed of Transfer, business of the county government must continue”, Ms Ariviza said.