Nairobi car owners have been battling the confusion brought forth by two entities that allegedly have a legal mandate to collect parking fees in the city.
The first one is the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), whose short code for payments is *647#.
It is run by the KRA following the Deed of Transfer that saw key functions of the Nairobi County Government passed over to the National Government.
The development took place in March, 2020.
The other shortcode is *235#, which was launched last year by City Hall. The code, which is also linked to the Sonko Team, was developed following the expiry of Jambopay’s tenure as the city’s revenue collector.
Jambopay’s exit saw City Hall develop its automated system that at first was riddled with functional issues.
At launch, NMS was said to replace the code developed by City Hall, but that was not the case.
Motorists, however, do not have a good experience with the services because both claim to have the right to collect parking fees.
The funds from the two shortcodes are received by the government, but either of them can clamp a customer’s vehicle for not remitting payments via their channels.
The confusion appears to have been going on for a while; the code from City Hall has been around for more than one year, while the NMS’s code was introduced barely six months ago.
It has become so bad that some motorists have been forced to pay double the parking fees to both platforms to avoid their cars getting clamped or towed away.
According to City Hall, ‘NMS has no right to create their own codes’, whereas NMS says it has unified the city under its new code and has been certified to do so by the Deed of Transfer.
In the end, the friction boils down to political squabbles that want to manage the lucrative parking fee revenue collection centre that contributes billions in annual revenues.
For the moment, *235# and *647# are active, and there is no word about when the dilemma will stop.