Nairobi’s own revenue system opens to a false-start


Nairobi’s own revenue system opens to a false-start

In Summary

  • Having cut ties with service provider Jambopay on Friday, the NCC had hoped for a smooth entry into the revamped system only for expectations to fall short.
  • A majority of motor-vehicle owners were yet to be accustomed with changes while even for those in the know, hitches in the execution of transactions were all too evident to ignore.
  • While Jambopay CEO Danson Muchemi hinted at a mutual end of terms with the county on Sunday afternoon, the NCC had on Saturday indicted the firm for allegedly failing to handover essential data resulting to service interruption.
  • Nairobi County will be hard-pressed to find long-lasting solutions to its revenue management, this as own-source revenue mobilization remains central to the the county’s lifeline.
 

The Nairobi County Government’s self-initiated fears on the collapse of its new revenue management system were realised on Monday as a majority of motorists faced distress in their transition to the new platform.

Having cut ties with service provider Jambopay on Friday, the county had hoped for a smooth entry into the revamped system only for expectations to fall short

A spot-check by Citizen Digital in the Central Business District earlier on Monday picked on tens of motor-vehicle owners who experienced an array of challenges in accessing the new payment service including delays, system-failure and the inadequacy of information.

A majority of motor-vehicle owners were yet to be accustomed to the changes while even for those in the know faced hitches in the execution of transactions.

Further to the early-morning pandemonium, city county parking attendants were missing in action leaving motorists to play from their own accord.

According to sources close to the county, the attendants were locked in a day-long meeting at City Hall in what seemingly composed of additional prepping, hours into the takeover of the city’s revenue management system by the county.

Early pointers to an impending disintegration of operations had emerged at the weekend, this as the county rushed to complete works to the own-source revenue management system.

“IT experts at City Hall in Nairobi worked overnight on Saturday/Sunday to ensure the county’s internal revenue collection system is up and running,” read a press statement from the county government dated June 9.

Messy divorce

The Nairobi City Council had at the onset of devolution in 2014 en boarded Jambopay to digitize its revenue collection systems in a bid to efficiently manage its more than 136 revenue streams.

Its engagement with the Webtribe Limited-owned service provider would however take a turn for the worse with Jambopay writing to the county in January to want out of contract over of what it termed as politically fueled sabotage.

Jambopay would, however, eventually stay on as a service provider to the county following the expiry of term on April 7, 2019, this as the firm opened up to an extension after City Hall’s attempts to switch to an own source system proved too taxing at the time.

The firm would then see out a pair of extended monthly-terms to Friday June 7, 2019 facilitating in its stay the transfer of essential services and skills to the Nairobi County Government.

While Jambopay Chief Executive Officer Danson Muchemi hinted at a mutual end of terms with the county in a tweet on Sunday afternoon, the Nairobi County administration had on Saturday indicted the firm for allegedly failing to handover essential data resulting to service interruption.

“Jambopay was required to handover certain key component. These included the company releasing the key USSD code and the paybill account. Until now, Jambopay has not relinquished these, hence interruption of services,” said the county in a statement signed off by county secretary Pauline Kahiga.

Revenues

In response to our queries on the first-day system hitch, Nairobi County Finance and Economic Planning executive Charles Kerich said the county was working to fast track solutions to the intermittent system interruptions.

Nairobi County will be hard-pressed to find long-lasting solutions to its revenue management, this as own-source revenue mobilization remains central to the the county’s lifeline.

The county could already be losing revenue to the tune of hundreds of millions from the interruption of its automated service, putting to jeopardy, revenue collection targets in the run up to the close of the 2018/19 fiscal year at the end of June.

Parking makes for the county’s revenue main stay earning an estimated Ksh.80 to Ksh.100 million per day in the concluded 2016/17 financial year which saw collected revenues top Ksh.10.9 billion.

While the county has self-contributed to jitters on its ability to manage revenues without the need for a third party, City Governor Mike Sonko has insisted on his government’s focus of a self reliant revenue management system.

“Those spreading rumors of our alleged migration from a digital to analogue city, just because we refused to extend Jambopay contract are dreaming. We are ready to run the Nairobi city county revenue management system on our own and we will put all effort to ensure a smooth transition.

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