City Hall operations disrupted after Safaricom disconnects internet services over debt claims

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City Hall operations were disrupted for more than two hours earlier today leaving most of the city residents seeking services in the county offices stranded.

This is after Safaricom, who is the Internet Service Provider disconnected the internet services over a Sh3.2 million debts.

Confirming the incident, ICT CEC Charles Kerich said the internet was disconnected at around 9am, disrupting services at the headquarters and in the sub-county offices. However, the services were restored two hours later after the county engaged the service provider and agreed to pay by the end of the month.

“Yes, our internet was disconnected but it has been restored. We talked to Safaricom to give us until January 31 to clear the bill,” the executive said on the phone.

The county pays for the service quarterly. There were long queues at the county headquarters due to the backlog caused by the downtime.

Those seeking to make payments, process statements, and applications for certificates such as food handler’s and business permits were affected.

Though the county has automated 92 revenue streams, residents are required to physically visit the offices for hard copy receipts.

Payments for single business permits, rates, parking, education, inoculation and garbage collection fees are among the revenue streams that have been automated. Food handlers’ certificates, tax inspections, court fines, court awards, adverts on poles, building materials, licenses, exchequer releases and hoarding fees are also in the new system.

Mr. Kerich further, encouraged people to use the county’s digital platforms including the Nairobi County Government Website to easily access the county services.

The incident comes days after the Deputy Governor of Nairobi, Polycarp Igathe, resigned from his position. Mr. Igathe was the hands-on operations lead in administering city hall activities. Mr Igathe claimed that he has failed to earn the trust of Governor Mike Sonko to enable him work at the county.

Last year, The Nairobi County Government partnered with Safaricom to roll out high speed fibre optic connection in residential areas at a cost of Sh4 billion over the next three years. The project, aimed at improving household connectivity from the current 10 per cent to 40 per cent, is set to be piloted in the next one month in Langata and Kileleshwa.

Safaricom was set to provide back-end infrastructure for the project and M-Pesa platform for City Hall’s electronic payment system e-Jijipay.

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