Nairobi city council launches a unified digital license for traders


Nairobi traders will now have to secure trading permits by tomorrow, March 31st, 2017. The trading permits will greatly affect Nairobi businesses as there will be a great increase in annual license fees.  The county government made the decision to bundle licenses and in that case the trading permit will be a great burden to many business owners. Currently, the businesses that will be affected the most will be the small businesses, who will be forced to pay up to three times what they paid last year.

One restaurant on the city’s Moi lane has seen the impact in their business. Last year, they would pay 10,000 for annual permit while this year renewal for the same is going to cost KSh31,000.  Equally, taxi operators who paid KSh7,000 will now be required to pay up KSh1,200.  Small shops that used to pay KSh5,000 last year are now required to pay between KSh 9,500 and KSh3,000, according to current billings.

The Nairobi county government said the increase is the result of consolidation of charges that traders were not paying for before, including signage fees (advertising) and fire certificates. Unified license regime was launched last year but is now meant to be implemented. As it is now, Nairobi is an expensive place to live in and the new licenses will affect the traders.

Currently, traders have been caught unawares and are questioning the county government’s increased appetite for cash, while there is very little improvement.  This new change will mean that there will be a possibility that consumer goods will be expensive.

City Hall insists the fees depend on the nature of business, including extra fees for food businesses that require health certificate and food hygiene. Businesses dealing in clothes are outraged by the requirement to pay KSh 4,200 for signage and advertising while initially small cubicles had no provision for putting up any signage and advertising.

Traders are also facing high start-up costs with some small shops in the CBD asking for as much as Sh1 million as goodwill.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics released at the end of October 2016 shows that 2.2 million micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) shut down in the past five years because of inability to cope with high operating expenses, declining income and losses incurred from businesses.