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Leteni pesa! Kenyans sweat over high charges for government services

By Wangu Kanuri November 10th, 2023 3 min read

After significantly raising taxes on almost everything to greatly impact on the cost of living, President William Ruto’s administration now appears to have embarked on increasing the cost of services provided by the government.

Since assuming power in September 2023, the government has already increased taxes on petrol, plus remittances in NSSF and NHIF. The government has further introduced fresh taxes such as the housing levy.

Here are the standout services that Kenyans will have to pay more to access.

Visiting game parks and national reserves

In August 2023, the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) announced that tourists entering national parks would have to pay Sh1,500 up from Sh500 with the new rates taking effect from January 2024.

According to the proposed conservation fees an adult East African citizen/ resident will now pay Sh2,000 to visit Nairobi National Park as opposed to Sh500 that was previously paid.

The rates have also been increased in all national parks and game reserves.

For instance, an adult who is an East African Community (EAC) citizen/ resident will now part with Sh1,000 to gain access to Amboseli and Lake Nakuru National Park during the high season of July to March.

A child/ student will pay Sh500.

Accessing Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park under the new proposals will now cost EAC adult Sh500 during the high season. The same applies to Meru, Kora, and Aberdare National Parks.

Acquiring and renewing passports and lost IDs

If you are acquiring an identity card for the first time, you must part with Sh1,000.

In the same breath, if you lose your identity card to get a new one, or want to replace it, you will spend Sh2,000 up from Sh100.

Marriage certificate

For you to have a marriage certificate, you will be required to part with Sh100,000 thrice the previous cost of Sh30,000.

Additionally, if you choose to go with the Attorney General route and have your wedding there, be prepared to spend Sh50,000 a tenfold increment from Sh5,000.

University fees

University education will likely be out of reach for thousands of students with the previous automatic government subsidy being removed.

Students who miss the government scholarship and loans will have to pay the entire amount. Additionally, students have to apply for this tuition funding every year with no guarantee of securing the funds on each application.

The level of funding for each student will depend on several factors which will be determined by the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) and the Universities Fund (UF).

Students in the vulnerable category will get 82 percent of the tuition amount as a scholarship and 18 percent as a loan while the extremely needy students will be granted 70 percent of scholarships and supplemented by a Helb loan of 30 percent.

Those falling under moderate will receive a maximum of 53 percent government scholarship along with a 40 percent maximum Helb loan while less needy students will be awarded a 38 percent scholarship and a 55 percent loan.

SGR fares

In early November, Kenya Railways announced an increase in train fare prices following the cost of fuel in the country. Fares on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) economy class are Sh1,000 with first-class tickets going for Sh3,000 but they will rise to Sh1,500 and Sh4,500 respectively effective January 2024.

Children below three years do not pay on the train while those from 3 to 11 years old pay half the rates at the moment. On the other hand, passengers using Economy Class on the Nairobi-Mombasa route will pay Sh500 more as the cost rises to Sh1,500 from the previous Sh1,000.

Parking fees in Nairobi 

Through a county government initiative, the cost of parking fee was increased last week with Saloon car owners being required to part with Sh300, motorists parking vans or pick-ups in Zone will have to pay a daily fee of Sh500 instead of Sh200.

Parking a truck weighing more than five tonnes in Zone 1 will attract a fee of Sh3,000 per day, up from Sh1,000, while parking a trailer will cost Sh4,000, up from Sh3,000.

At the same time, Governor Johnson Sakaja also introduced a monthly fee of Sh3,000 for non-digital taxis wishing to park in Zone I, ending their free parking.

Zone II is off-street parking at commercial centers and parking at the County Market, which is not automated. However, motorists will continue to enjoy free parking on Sundays and public holidays.

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