Kisii County has nearly doubled parking fee collection following a revenue collection partnership with Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) three weeks ago. Dr Job Obare, the county’s director of revenues,says that the government had collected Sh5.8 million in the three weeks against on average of Sh3 million in a previous similar period.
Under the partnership, DTB uses its system to collect fees from public service vehicles, boda bodas and private motorists while the county is in charge of enforcement.
There are 70 DTB branded kiosks in Kisii town with at least one at the end of every two blocks.
The pay points have eliminated mobile parking attendants. After parking the motorist walks to the booth where the attendant has a Process Data Quickly (PDQ) machine. A motorist pays at the booths where attendants key in the PDQ vehicle number plates and the motorists’ telephone numbers.
The machines sends an SMS to individual payers, confirming the payment, and also issue physical receipts. An enforcement team from the council is equipped with a special mobile phone in which they key in number plates of parked vehicles for confirmation of payment.
If a vehicle’s owner has paid parking fee a confirming SMS is sent to the supervisor. In case of non-payment a message is sent to the clamping team.
Each supervisor is allocated a street and using the number of parking slots available a target of how much money should be collected is set.
The system, using geomaps, can confirm whether a supervisor is on the street and by cross-checking the database can also verify whether a paid up car is still parked on a street. Boda boda riders and public service vehicle crew are also using the booths to make their monthly parking fee payments.
The system, dubbed Umoja Pay, is driven by Diamond Trust Bank and JamboPay Express.
“Kisii was small but vibrant enough to pilot the system,” said DTB chief executive Nasim Devji. Kisii residents will soon pay parking fees through a wide variety of solutions including mobile phone (M-Pesa and Airtel Money), Visa or MasterCard branded cards.
“This will not only streamline our revenue collection and seal any leakages but will also go a long way in increasing our accountability and easing payment methods for Kisii residents,” said County Governor James Ongwae. For motorists, the system removes the hustle associated with tracking down parking attendants.
Some of the attendants have been accused of hiding so as to clamp cars, as soon as a frustrated motorist walks away, in order to solicit bribes.
The parking booths are also being used to sell airtime. Dr Obare said that the system had encountered resistance from the public for fear of loss of jobs. But after absorbing affected parking attendants in other departments, the public is supportive of the technology, he said.
Revenue collection has been a major headache to county governments which are operating on budget deficits. Most county governors have resorted to increasing fees and commissions to fill yawning cash gaps, putting them at odds with residents.