What was supposed to be a reprieve for Nairobi City County residents and entrepreneurs in acquisition of business licenses may as well end up being a political mirage.
The county had early this week unveiled an electronic Unified Business Permit (UBP) regime, to ease doing of business ans improve on revenue collected.
The UBP was to combine the business, fire, food, health, and advertising licenses into one.
The UBP is supposed to be available on the Nairobi City County Government’s Nairobi Pay Revenue service online portal but investigations reveal that the system is struggling to work.
The county has been missing on alot of revenue because of the tedious process of acquiring multiple licenses for businesses.
However,since the unveiling of the UBP, we can report that residents and entrepreneurs trying to access the portal have not been convinced about the workability of the entire system.
A staff in the licensing department confided to us how the system is giving them problems with the Kenya Revenue Authority who are still collecting revenue for the county also in the mix.
The staff revealed that by 5th January, 2024 the portal had failed to work completely.
“Believe you me the unified license has refused to work totally,”
The staff said the new system may end up being big scandal if not improved and if the county staff are not involved.
“County staff have been sidelined on this operation which is being handled by KRA,”
The staff revealed that KRA staff who have previously been appointed to help the county have been removed and new ones brought on board.
The unified payment system was one of the key commitments made by Governor Johnson Sakaja in his manifesto.
Speaking when he confirmed the UBP activation, Sakaja noted that the activation of the UBP system on new year day will enhance public service delivery by conveniently allowing Nairobi entrepreneurs to pay for their licenses online and receive an electronic unified business permit.
“We continue to make Nairobi Work, and I am glad that the UBP has now been activated as part of a deliberate effort to improve the ease of doing business parameters in this city.”
With the county struggling in its own source revenues (OSR) performance, which is supposed to hit Sh20 billion this year, experts have warned that the UBP system will need alot of transparency.
“For the county government to improved on its own source revenue the new system should be transparent and open for audit,” Alex Mbau a financial analyst said.
The county has also extended the land rates waiver until January 31, 2024 after poor compliance last year.
This comes on the backdrop of revelations that millions of shillings in revenue collected in Nairobi are being diverted to the benefit of senior government officers, governor Johnson Sakaja and senior finance officers at the county.
This has been attributed to the fact that KRA has been in a secret agreement with governor Sakaja to ‘help’ the county in revenue collection as it transitions from the services of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and the tax collecting agency.
This is despite Governor Sakaja going public to declare that the county was fully in charge of revenue and that collections have improved compared to past years.
EACC in October said senior officials in the devolved units are using a revenue collection system to divert county revenues by colluding with service providers,resulting in the loss of billions of shillings.
Nairobi Governor in August announced that the role of revenue collection had been reverted back to the county government from the national government.
Speaking at the City Hall parking area when he for the first time met county workers, Sakaja said Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials will no longer collect revenue.
The move to strip off KRA the role, according to Sakaja, was informed by the fact that the taxman was not meeting the set targets previously attained by county officials.
In March 2020 KRA took over the role with officers being given full and unlimited access to county revenue processes, information data and systems.
Shockingly, an ad hoc committee probing revenue collection was shocked to hear that KRA was still in charge of revenue collection after agreement with Sakaja.
KRA Deputy Commissioners Anastacia Gathubi told the committee that nine commissioners were in charge of revenue collection in Nairobi.
Gathubi told the committee chaired by Majority Leader Peter Imwatok that Governor Sakaja on his own personal decision requested that the commission provide nine Commissioners to help transition the process of revenue collection.
This is despite the lack of any legal framework under which the commission can take charge of revenue collection.
“Yes we agree the deed of transfer ended but governor Sakaja requested KRA to help in the transition process that is why we are still offering our services, “she added.
The governor is also battling nepotism and tribalism allegations over hiring of staff with some of his friends having been absorbed in the revenue sector.
Sakaja who entered a secret agreement with KRA on Revenue Collection has been working hard behind the scenes to hide his extreme corrupt deals.
Cityhall has been on the spot for various negative approaches among them county staff being accused of corruption allegations and misuse of office.
The officers are Finance Executive Charles Kerich, Head of Procurement Richard Mogaka.
Others are, Ambrose Musau, Vivian Mavua, Beth Muthoni, Denis Muia, Brian Oyando, Kevin Musamia, the officers have gained massive from corruption dealings, his main clients are suppliers and contractors from the Somali community and a few Kikuyus, he is currently building state-of-the-art-house.
Stephen Mafura and easy panty remover Mary Maina Wangui girlfriend to former acting county secretary Jairus Musumba are also on police radar.
The county staff have been accused of colluding with suppliers to mint millions of money in supply of hot-air.
Among the companies includes, Buko investments being operated by Mohammed Ibrahim Siyad among others.