The Nairobi County Assembly has approved Nairobi County Finance Bill, 2018 that will see ride-hailing firms such as Uber, Little and Taxify operating in the county subjected to an annual licensing fee of up to Kes.300,000.
“As it currently stands, the ride-hailing app companies do not pay any operational licenses,” said Robert Mbatia, Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman. Ride-hailing apps and car hire companies will be required to pay operational licenses of Kes.50,000 annually for those who operate less than 50 cars, Kes.100,000 for those who operate between 51 to 100 cars and Kes.300,000 for those who operate more than 100 cars.
“We will not charge the drivers but the company itself. For example, Uber has an office in Westlands, thus it will be required to pay the fee depending on the number of vehicles it has under it. The charge is fair especially considering it is yearly,” added Mr Mbatia.
This move comes as a measure to raise funds for the City’s hefty Kes.34 Billion budget for the 2018-2019 financial year. The new bill comes at a time when ride-hailing services are booming in the city. As of January 2018, Uber had 5000 driver partners in Nairobi. The growing demand for such services in the city has attracted many players, with some closing shop before they even officially launch but an interesting move has been the shift from hailing taxis to hailing motorbikes, popularly known as bodaboda.
At the time of going to press, none of the affected ride-hailing firms of car hire companies had commented about the new bill, it will, however, be interesting to see how they react to such a move by the county government and whether this will serve as a template for other counties where such services exist,