Nairobi County Launches New Payments Platform, Again

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In December 2022, we learned that Nairobi was developing a new payment system, dubbed myNairobi. The platform and its accompanying app were reportedly being put in place with the help of telco Safaricom.

“This amazing team of developers and innovators from Safaricom PLC and the Nairobi County Government are working hard to deliver to you a seamless customer experience via our *647# USSD as well as the soon-to-be-unveiled myNairobi App. All payments, services, and events in one…” Governor Sakaja had said.

Well, the day is finally here, because the platform is now live via nairobiservices.go.ke.

According to the page, Nairobi residents can now pay for: parking, acquire business licenses, health services, ad services, and property services, among others, through the platform.

These services can also be accessed via USSD at *647#.

City dwellers have had their fair share of payment platforms ever since the County decided to streamline its payments.

In 2014, Nairobi County picked JamboPay, a revenue collection platform owned by Webtribe Limited, to assist with collecting revenue. This move was part of the County and nation’s efforts to digitize services.

In 2019, JamboPay’s contract with Nairobi County came to an end. The plans to renew it were halted when City Hall announced that it had developed an in-house revenue collection system, supported by Governor Mike Sonko Mbuvi, to take over from JamboPay. Despite the expiration of its contract, JamboPay continued to provide services before the new system was put in place.

However, the County did not effectively communicate this transition to residents, and some of them continued to send payments to JamboPay even after its contract had expired. The new system could only be accessed via USSD (*235#), which made it more cumbersome to use compared to JamboPay’s e-wallet where residents could load funds for incoming payments.

Furthermore, the new solution faced a series of technical issues and there were rumors that JamboPay was reluctant to release certain key components needed for its successor.

To address these issues, the County implemented a new digital revenue collection system called the Nairobi County Revenue System (NRS), which could be accessed via *647# (which has been retained for the new platform). It offered services such as parking, land rates, business permits, and market bill management. Additionally, it promised to include features like mobile money and card processing, and bank transfers, all within the built-in payment platform.

Overall, we hope the new service will remain in place for a while and that it will not be replaced the next time the County elects a new leader.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]