The High Court yesterday stopped the implementation of new higher parking fees by the Nairobi City County Government which were set to take effect on 4th December, offering thousands of motorists a temporary relief from the charges.
High Court Judge James Makau ordered the implementation be put to hold warning the Nairobi County parking officials against charging the increased fees until a suit filed by the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) is heard and determined.
This is a major blow to Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who signed the law on 25th September hoping to increase revenue collection from parking spaces and reduce private vehicle traffic into the city centre. The volume of private motorists parking in the capital city has increased from a previous daily average of 4,500 to 5,200.
Parking down again?
The County Government, which charged the new rate of Ksh400 on Wednesday, complied with the court order and reverted to the initial Ksh200 rate.
COFEK said the decision to increase the fees was unconstitutional because the Nairobi County Government had failed to conduct a proper public participation exercise.
City Hall earns Ksh1.2 million daily from parking and had expected to double that from December to Ksh2.4 million, or Ksh70 million per month and Ksh864 million annually.
City Hall reduced has reportedly has been losing Ksh300,000 daily in parking fees since the implementation of the new Sh200 daily parking fees in January.
The consumer lobby also argued it was unfair that the public wasn’t notified when the Finance Act was enacted into law on 25th September, 2019.
Matter comes up for hearing on January 21, 2020. The case will be keenly followed by Nairobians, who have expressed their displeasure at the new rates especially coming at a time when the entire economy is struggling.
Nairobians are watching
They will be banking on COFEK to push the case to conclusion and, if possible, have the rates declared illegal.
According to a statement from the county on Monday, the Nairobi County Assembly passed a law on 25th September, which recommended an increase of parking fees in the Central Business District and along Kijabe Street from Ksh200 to Ksh400, while buses that are not public service vehicles are to pay Ksh1,000 daily.
Implementation of the new rate began yesterday as the mobile payment system had already been updated to charge the new rates. The Judge did not indicate whether the County Government would refund the extra parking fees charged on 4th.
In January this year, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko ordered for a reduction in parking fees to Ksh.200 down from Ksh300 per day. City Hall had proposed an increase to Ksh400 in the County Finance Bill 2018 but after reported consultations, it was agreed that the fees be reduced.