NAIROBI, KENYA: Nairobi residents have a reason to smile after city hall announced that it will not be increasing taxes and levies in the 2017/2018 financial year.
This is despite the fact that the County budget has ballooned by Sh1.5 billion.
On Thursday, the Nairobi County Finance Executive, Gregory Mwakanongo read the Sh35.9 budget in the County Assembly where he said the same. In the budget, approximately Sh24.1 billion will be used on recurrent expenditure and Sh11.7 billion will go towards development.
“Unlike the previous years, we will not be revising the rates upwards and overburdening the tax payer but instead we will fine-tune the already existing revenue streams,” said Mwakanongo.
The finance executive said that the executive would instead revise the valuation roll bill and re-evaluate under performing revenue streams to fund the Sh35.9 billion 2017-18 budget.
The Ratings and Valuation Roll Bill, he said, has been pending in the county assembly since last year and if approved, all property will be revalued.
Traditionally, the city has been using the valuation roll developed in 1982 which valued an acre of undeveloped land at Sh100, 000. Owners pay 25 percent of the Sh100, 000 as rates to the county government.
He said the county has restructured its six revenue streams inclusive of parking, rates, advertising, single business permits, and environment and building approvals in a bid to minimize revenue losses.
Mwakanongo said the budget will ensure all infrastructure projects that have stalled since 2013 are completed.
In the past three fiscal years, the budget has been subject to review upwards in a bid to clear the inherited county debt from the defunct city council and also the huge wage bill.
In the budget, the Ward development fund was allocated Sh1.73billion, while the health sector was allocated Sh1.2 billion for development. This includes Sh484 million to buy drugs and Sh800 million to rehabilitate health centers. Environment and water Sh900 million, Trade and commerce Sh560 million.
The office of the governor was awarded Sh373.4 million, Education and youth affairs Sh345 million, County assembly Sh320 million, ICT Sh173 million, Finance and Economic planning Sh170 million, Agriculture and fisheries Sh154 million, urban renewal and housing Sh180 million and Sh90 million for emergency fund.
Nominated MCA, Karen Wanjiku however took issue with some of the provisions in the budget. She said that while it was good the health docket was given the lions’ share of the budget, it should have received 30 percent and not 20 percent of the resources.
He further said that the budget had failed to address the issue of street kids who had now flocked the city.