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Nairobi City Council to Invest Sh5 bn in Eastleigh Infrastructure

Residents of Eastleigh walk past one of the many roadside dump's in the disctrict - Photo HOL

Thursday, March 10, 2011
By Hiiraan Online Staff Reporter

Mohamed Mohamud Gutale, Organizing Secretary of the EBDA
Nairobi – (HOL) - The Eastleigh Business District Association (EBDA) met with representatives from the Nairobi City council Thursday at the Nomad Palace in Eastleigh to discuss how they can share the tax revenue collected in Eastleigh.

The EBDA is an organization that looks after the commercial interests of Eastleigh business – from small street vendors to the larger hotels, shops and restaurants that seem to be sprouting up over Eastleigh overnight. They maintain that there is a stark contrast between the amount of tax revenue collected from Eastleigh business and the amount of municipal services they receive in return.

Mohamed Mohamud Gutale, the organizing secretary of the EBDA voiced his concerns to Hiiraan Online. “There is a lack of investment on the city’s part in terms of infrastructure. Eastleigh has a colonial sewage system that was built in 1936 with little or no repairs or innovations.” He added that “The garbage is littered on the streets, the roads cannot handle the influx of vehicles and heavy trucks, and to make matters worse we don’t have street lights.”

The meeting was attended by several officials from the City council including the town clerk, city councilors, environmental officers and city engineers; some of whom have never even been to Eastleigh before this meeting.

The EBDA has told us that they have made a tentative agreement with the city council and that it promises to look into their grievances. They have said that they’ve been told to expect immediate results as early as 4 months from now and that there will be a Sh5 bn investment in Eastleigh’s infrastructure.

The lack of municipal oversight and involvement has led to the building of several poorly planned or outright illegal buildings. The city council explained that many of the buildings in Eastleigh go against zoning laws and have not been approved by city planners. They have promised to further investigate this issue and if warranted those buildings could potentially be demolished.

In June of last year, a Kenyan High Court ruled that the City Council is barred from collecting taxes from over 3000 traders in Eastleigh for not offering municipal services.

Eastleigh is an eastern suburb of Nairobi that is predominantly inhabited by Somali immigrants; it has been affectionately dubbed as “Little Mogadishu”. Economic pundits estimate that the business generated in Eastleigh runs into the billions of shillings.