Kenya: Nairobi Risks Losing Billions as Bid for New Revenue Firm Fails

The Nairobi City County risks losing billions of shillings from revenue collection after efforts to find a new company to replace Webtribe, which also operates as JamboPay, flopped.

Sources at the county's procurement department Thursday told the Nation that none of the firms which applied to replace JamboPay met the technical evaluation criteria.

This follows an advertisement dated February 1, 2019 in which the county requested for proposals for a new integrated revenue system.

A total of 25 companies made a bid for the tender.

SHORTFALLS

But the companies came short of meeting the technical evaluation criteria with their shortfalls including lack of past experience in collecting revenue for a big city, technical incapacities and poor track records.

Some of the firms which had shown interest allegedly falsified documents about their capacity to collect revenue amounting to billions of shillings in a financial year.

However, some of the firms have accused county officials of impropriety in the evaluation of the tender documents.

Contacted, Nairobi County Finance Executive Winfred Kathangu did not respond to the accusations.

JamboPay did not bid to continue with the contract which expired on April 7, 2019.

END CONTRACT

On January 7, the firm wrote to City Hall stating that it would not be seeking to renew its contract with the county government, citing negative publicity which it had been getting and which it blamed on politics.

"We have been accused of stealing money that belongs to the county. We have lost clients as a result of these accusations while some started to doubt our capability. We received a lot of accusations despite our records being clean," JamboPay CEO Danson Muchemi said when he appeared before the Nairobi County Assembly Energy and ICT committee.

JamboPay, which started collecting revenue for the county in 2014, has seen the city's revenue collection increase astronomically.

INCREASED REVENUE

While appearing before the Senate Wednesday, Governor Mike Sonko cited increased revenue collection as one of his achievements.

According to the Controller of Budget, Nairobi County stood out as the most improved in revenue collection in the 2017/2018 financial year. The county collected Sh10.9 billion in that period.

In March 2018, the county netted collected a record Sh120 million in a day.

EXTENSION FOR JAMBOPAY

Last month, as part of a short-time solution, the Nairobi County Assembly's Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman allowed JamboPay to continue collecting revenue for three months before a new firm takes over.

But the new developments means that it will not be possible for the company to exit within the remaining period.

And due to the rigorous procurement process, the county might be forced to revert to the manual revenue collection process upon the expiry of the period of the contract extension.

This might see the county lose between Sh50 million to Sh100 million daily, an average of the gap in revenue collections which an automated revenue system bridged.

City Hall relies on JijiPay, a mobile app platform, for revenue collected by Jambo Pay.

The app is used by city residents for payment of land rates, business permits, parking fee, house rent and market stall rents.

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