The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has urged compliance after it announced the end of discounted seasonal parking fees for Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) in Nairobi County.
Matatu operators will have to dig deeper into their pockets as they will pay between Ksh1,630 and Ksh5,000 more. The move came soon after Covid-19 restrictions on matatus were eased in August allowing them to resume carrying full capacity.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was appointed in March 2020 by the Nairobi City County Government as the principal agent for overall revenue collection. It had discounted the seasonal parking fees for PSVs as it acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on the transportation sector.
In the revised rates, 14-seater PSVs have to fork out Ksh5,000 between the 6th and 24th of every month. If paid between the 25th and 5th, however, the seasonal parking fee will be Ksh3,650.
42-seater PSVs will pay Ksh5,280 a month between 25th and 5th. If paid between 6th and 24th, they will part with Ksh8,000.
62-seater PSVs will pay Ksh7,200 between 25th and 5th of every month, or Ksh10,000 if paid between 6th and 24th.
The increase has been vehemently opposed by matatu operators who argue that it puts immense strain on their business forcing them to pass on the cost to passengers through higher fares.
They cited the latest review of fuel prices by the Energy Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) which saw Petrol and Diesel prices reach their highest price points in Kenya’s history.
The maximum pump price for Super Petrol rose by Ksh7.58 per litre, with a litre of petrol in Nairobi now costing Ksh134.72. The cost of Diesel rose to Ksh115.60 from Ksh107.66.
Speaking to Business Today, Karanja Maina, a matatu operator on the Thika Road route, stated that it was a matter of time before they raised fares to sustain their businesses.
“We have been suffering making losses all through Covid-19 when we were doing half capacity. Now, as soon as the government allows us to carry full capacity, fuel prices are unbearable and parking fees are higher – Surely, how do you expect us to do business? We will continue to suffer,” he posed.
Karanja agreed with the sentiments of Matatu Owners Association chairperson Simon Kimutai, who had called for county governments to scrap the seasonal parking fees for PSVs entirely and advised them to instead charge matatu saccos directly for space.
“For long, I have advocated for counties to exclude PSVs from paying parking fees because we bring a lot of business to them. If you are going to charge us more for fuel and parking, the cost will ultimately be passed on to commuters.
“But if commuters find it expensive to travel, will they travel to town as often as they would otherwise? In any case, [matatu] saccos should be paying for actual space occupied and not the carrying capacity because the vehicles are always moving and not idly parked in a spot,” Kimutai had argued.