Automated system hitches cost Nairobi revenue targets, says official

Nairobi's revenue collection is still wanting despite the
million of shillings City Hall has spent in automating services,
MCAs heard on Tuesday.

Finance CEC Vesca Kengogo asserted that frequent system failure and weak enforcement mechanisms
have led to dismal revenue performance over the years.

Kengogo, while appearing
before the Public Accounts Committee, said that the county has failed to meet its target despite contracting
JamboPay in April 2014 to automate collection.

The CEC cited frequent
system disruptions caused by slow Internet connectivity.

Also read: City Hall collected Sh1.6bn revenue last month – Sonko

WebTribe, the company that owns JamboPay, receives 4.5 per cent of money transacted through the system.

It handles payment for single business permits, rates, parking, education, inoculation and garbage collection.

The Auditor General had indicated in the 2015-16 financial year audit
report that 38 out of every 100 vehicles parked in the city, their
owners did not pay for parking fees.

This is despite the county
automating more than 90 revenue collection streams.

Kengogo,
who appeared before the panel to answer to the audit queries, said that on
average, the county loses about Sh1.8 million per week due to
downtime.

"Yes, we have experienced many challenges but we are in the
process of implementing mitigation measures to curb the same," she said.

The county finance boss blamed JamboPay for the situation saying that
the county encountered challenges in verifying whether motorists had
paid.

She stated that there is no physical evidence issued to motorists to show that they had paid for parking.

This means that county workers could not easily identify vehicles that had defaulted in payment.

"Why should we continue automating a system that requires physical verification?" she asked.

Acting committee chairman Moses Ogeto had questioned why the county revenue has been declining despite the automation.

She
said that the county was now in the process of procuring point of sale
machines which would give motorists receipts once they pay.

She also
said that the county has also introduced MPesa Paybill numbers that
motorists can use during downtime.

The MCA also revealed the county
has written to Web Tribe, the company that owns JamboPay to compensate
it for the revenue lost during downtime.

Kengogo blamed non-compliance of motorists on weak enforcement laws and called for a review of the same.

"We want to put it in a way that if one tries to pay for parking services and they do not access
the service, we will consider that as loss of revenue and will ask to be
compensated."

Karen MCA David Mberia castigated the parking
department for being
unable to enforce payment through mechanisms such as clamping.

He further claimed that corrupt parking attendants were responsible for the revenue
loss.

Parking
services director Joyce Chengo, however, said that the county faced a
myriad challenges such as insufficient clamps, lack of modern
towing vehicles and shortage of staff.

Read: Nairobi daily revenue up to Sh38 million after City Hall swoop, claims Sonko

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