KeNHA to rent out highway stations to hotels, private developers

The State is eyeing new revenues from the proposed roadside stations along highways that will offer services such as restrooms, accommodation, parking, and restaurants for thousands of long-distance road users across the country.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has published proposed laws in which it suggests a raft of charges to private developers who will be setting up and operating the stations.

The stations will be located not more than 600 metres from the road and the distance from each other will be pegged on factors such as demand, availability of land, and amenities to be provided.

The proposed stations are in response to a 2020 High Court decision which compelled the government to formulate a policy to guide the provision of toilets and other sanitation facilities along the highways.

Currently, fuel stations found on major highways sell food and other items and also provide toilets for travellers. Travellers can also find accommodation in larger settlements or buy farm produce by the roadside but these are often informal in nature and can prove hazardous to motorised vehicles on the road.

The regulations will allow KeNHA to build some of the stations alone or in partnership with private investors. Others will be purely built and operated by private investors on their own land or land leased from the government.

The Kenya Revenue Authority will geofence and gazette all roadside stations for tax purposes. The taxman will maintain a register of roadside stations, the station developers, and the station operators.

Current facilities offering such services targeted by roadside stations will be required to comply with the regulations within two years of coming into effect of the regulations or risk fines.

The stations will at minimum have handwashing points, free, clean, and adequate sanitation facilities, emergency response services, and garbage disposal points.

The draft classifies the stations into three categories. The large ones will sit on at least 10 acres and with a minimum of 200 parking slots. Medium ones will sit on between six and 10 acres of land and with parking space of 100 to 200 slots.

Small stations will occupy three to six acres of land and accommodate five to 100 parking slots and offer sanitation facilities, restrooms, drivers’ accommodation, parking, a restaurant, a health clinic, and security services.

The large and medium stations will have additional services such as petrol stations, electric car charging points, towing and recovery services, banking facilities, market stalls, and internet connection.

The draft says the large and medium stations will also have “smart gate gadgets with the capability to integrate with customs monitoring systems and capture truck, trailer and container number at entry and exit points,” in a move that points to the State’s move to net tax cheats.

Those seeking to set up a roadside station will pay Sh20,000 application fees, followed by a Sh100,000 annual operating licence if approved. Operating a station without a licence will attract a Sh500,000 fine.

Trucks parking inside parking stations for up to two hours will not be charged anything but doing so for two hours to seven hours will incur a Sh200 parking fee in cities and municipalities and Sh150 in other areas. The fee will hit Sh500 for a 24-hour parking.

Trucks parking outside the stations will pay a daily penalty of Sh30,000. The State will charge a Sh2,500 truck towing charge to the nearest roadside station for the first one kilometre and Sh2,000 for every additional kilometre.

Source: Business Daily

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