Nairobi Unveils Parking Reforms


Nairobi Unveils Parking Reforms

As city authorities across Africa analyze the impact of COVID-19 on their parking revenues, East Africa’s biggest city, Nairobi, has proposed new reforms that would enable it recoup income lost since the outbreak of the pandemic and sustain the earnings post-COVID with more market-focused policies.

A proposal to have the County government manage parking in residential areas, a large share owned and developed by private real estate investors, has sparked outrage among motorists.

The Nairobi City County government, which governs the Kenyan capital through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), has proposed reforms to bring free parking spots in residential areas into the City’s parking fee paying bracket. The County government promises to “provide parking for residents at a low price through residents’ permits and allow residents out of Central Business District and marked areas to purchase season parking tickets.”

Early in 2020, the City Council eliminated the season parking ticket, each going for US$54 in the Central Business District (CBD), but allowed its use in other parking areas outside the CBD.

Other proposed reforms include setting aside 2 percent of the parking space in Nairobi City for people with disabilities and new charging points for the increasing number of electric vehicles.

The City Council has also proposed to amend the current parking pricing model from daily parking flat rate of US$1.8 per to a model based on hourly rates for on-street and off-street parking that reflect emerging market trends.

Hourly parking rates that are based on demand for existing parking spots and number of open slots available, range from US$0.8 for desirable areas such as south of Kenyatta Avenue and west of Moi Avenue, to US$0.4 and US$0.45 for areas and hubs outside the CBD. For motorists preferring off-street parking, the proposed hourly rate is US$0.9.

Nairobi City County government earned US$13.96 million in parking revenues for the financial year ending June 2020, slightly below the US$25.2 million targeted for the period. 

When the proposed reforms are fully implemented, the city expects to generate an additional US$19.8 million in parking revenues.

However, the proposal to have the County government manage parking in residential areas, a large share owned and developed by private real estate investors, has sparked outrage among motorists, County Assembly of Nairobi representatives and Nairobi’s representative in the Kenyan Senate. They have argued the County government should focus more on measures that ensure full compliance with parking regulations to eliminate incidents of motorists failing to pay for parking services.

For example, one County government report says although a total of 1,305,440 vehicles parked at City’s 6,125 designated parking slots in 2020, only 402,401 of the motorists paid for parking, translating into 31 percent compliance.

The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) says the city government’s proposal to manage parking in residential areas is “ill-timed, unjustifiable and insensitive to the economic hardship Kenyans are going through.”

“Nairobi residents are already over-burdened by numerous taxes and the County Government should give more attention to ensuring that they get value for the taxes by improving service delivery as opposed to introducing measures that will only exacerbate the economic challenges faced by residents of Nairobi,” said KARA chief executive officer Mr. Henry Ochieng.

“We call upon the County Government and NMS to instead address the issue of cartels colluding with some County government officers to divert some of the realizable parking revenues for personal use,” he said.

“KARA will make use of every legal option at its disposal to ensure that no parking fees are collected from the estate parking areas and we have already written to the Nairobi County Executive Committee Member for Finance and Planning demanding that the decision be rescinded with immediate effect,” Ochieng added.

Nairobi City County’s Senate representative Mr. Johnson Sakaja, has also opposed the proposal to have the County government manage parking in residential areas.

 “Many people leave their cars in residential areas and use public service vehicles whenever they are unable to buy fuel,” he said.

“We cannot raise parking fees in town to reduce congestion then follow motorists to their residential estates and tax them when they leave their cars there,” added Sakaja.

Meanwhile, the Nairobi City County Assembly Finance Committee has said in a September 2021 statement the Assembly’s Finance Act of 2018 law only allows for the collection of parking fees from commercial buildings that have parking spots in shopping centers outside of the CBD, but not residential areas.

“Currently, there is no legal backing for collecting of parking fees from motorists parking in residential areas,” said Robert Mbatia, chairman of the County Assembly Finance Committee.

“Any attempt to collect parking fees from vehicles parked in residential areas is illegal because there is no enabling legislation from the County Assembly,” he said.

Elsewhere, the Nairobi City County government, in an effort to harness parking revenue collection, announced in 2020 its partnership with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in creating a revenue collection platform system, the Nairobi Revenue System (NRS), that allows for a single revenue collection system.  

Motorists parking in any of the Nairobi City County parking bay can now pay parking fees via a new USSD payment mode *647#.

The USSD payment mode was introduced after numerous complaints from motorists “disputing penalties imposed for failure to pay parking fees.”

“In order to address these complaints, parking attendants in County government uniform will henceforth photograph the number plates of non-compliant motor vehicles for reference purposes in case of disputes,” said KRA in a recent statement.

“These vehicles will get a notice that an offense was identified for the vehicle and that the owner is summoned to pay a fine by App. When the fine is not paid within certain time limit, wheel clamping the car and the next time it is identified on a legal parking space,” KRA adds.

Meanwhile, in a bid to streamline parking in the CBD, the County government has phased out the use of physical annual VIP parking stickers after the introduction of the Nairobi Revenue System. A list of all vehicles classified under the County’s list of VIP Parking, has been uploaded to the new system.


Shem Oirere is Parking Today’s on the ground reporter in Africa. He can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Shem Oirere
Only show results from:

Recent Articles

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy