Nairobi county gov’t seeks divine intervention in revenue collection

JamboPay officials when they appeared before Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday last week. They were Chief Finance Officer Dominic Kosgei (right). He was flanked by Ms Vendra Rasugu (left) Head of Business and Robert Ochieng', head of information.

 “LAIFOMS has shown signs of failure and it is only through the grace of God that it still survives. The system is overstretched and has outlived its usefulness”, Mr Mukenya told the Committee chaired by Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia.

Nairobi County Government hopes for divine intervention to save its ‘obsolete’ revenue management system – LAIFOMS, a project that was introduced by the World Bank for the defunct local authorities to enhance financial discipline.

Even though, the county government is in the process of acquiring a new integrated revenue management system after a contract with online payment platform – JamboPay ended last month.

On Thursday, the chief officer for E-Government at City Hall Peter Mukenya told Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee that the Local Authorities Integrated Financial Operations Management System was obsolete and it could collapse any time.

“LAIFOMS has shown signs of failure and it is only through the grace of God that it still survives. The system is overstretched and has outlived its usefulness”, Mr Mukenya told the Committee chaired by Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia.

Mukenya said LAIFOMS was developed to serve a few local authorities (councils) and it was now serving counties, apparently implying that the system was not effectively compliant that with the revenue regime in the county governments.

“We have advertised for a new revenue management system to replace the ageing LAIFOMS which lacks maintenance. Nobody is maintaining the LAIFOMS systems”, Mr Mukenya told the committee.

Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Robert Mbaya (right) and vice chairman Patrick Karani.

The Committee is conducting a public enquiry on why Nairobi County revenue streams were recording low income. It also seeks to establish why the county is unable to hit targets in its revenue projections.

Early in the year, JamboPay Chief Executive Officer Danson Muchemi wrote to the county government stating that the company would not seek to renew its contract with City Hall. The company alluded to a frosty relationship with the county and political intimidation it had suffered as a service provider.

The county government had contracted Webtribe in 2014 to provide electronic payment services through its online platform JamboPay for various revenue streams including business permits, rates parking fees, rental houses and market stalls.

Even though, on Thursday, JamboPay Chief Finance Officer Dominic Kosgei gave assurance to the Budget and Appropriations Committee that the company was committed to a smooth transition as it exits City Hall.

Mr Kosgei told the Budget Committee that lack of proper enforcement by the county government was the biggest challenge hampering effective revenue collection to the projected levels.

“Mr Chairman, the parking revenue stream has emerged as the most notorious where the county government needs to implement very strong enforcement measures that will include frequent rotation of parking attendants”, the Committee heard.

Responding to a question by a Committee member Ms Emily Oduor, Kosgei said levies paid by Matatu saccos