Sonko extends rent waiver on Nairobi County houses by six months


Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO| COURTESY
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO| COURTESY

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has extended rent waiver for tenants residing in City County Government houses for six more months citing COVID-19 financial challenges.

In a statement released on Friday, Sonko accused officers of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) of harassing vulnerable city residents over rent arrears despite the current economic crisis occasioned by the pandemic.

“My attention has been drawn to the outcry of a majority of tenants occupying residential houses belonging to the Nairobi City County Government, following persistent harassment by officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) over rent arrears,” said the Governor.

“…I do hereby extend the waiver earlier granted for a period of a further six (6) months from the date of this letter, as our residents continue to recover economically from the effects the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Governor’s move is expected to trigger a standoff with the Major General Mohamed Badi-led Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and tenants.

About two weeks ago, Sonko rejected the County Appropriations Bill after the County Assembly allocated Ksh.27.1 billion out of a budget of Ksh.37.5 billion to NMS leaving him with Ksh.8.4 billion to control.

“In exercise of the powers conferred on me by Section 24(2) (b) of the County Governments Act, 2012, I refuse to assent to the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2020,” said Sonko Thursday in his memorandum to Speaker Benson Mutura.

The Governor rejected the budget saying it had a huge deficit, calling for allocations to NMS to be voided.

“I have reviewed the bill as presented to me for assent and the total budget for FY 2020-21 Sh31.6 billon against Sh37.4 billion leaving a deficit of sh 5.8 billion which is against the Public Finance Management regulations 31 (c) which provides that the total budgeted revenue and budgeted expenditure must be balanced,” Sonko said.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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