Would you ever imagine that running a toilet in the Central Business District would be so lucrative to a tune of raking in Sh10, 000 or more in a day?
If situated at a strategic place where there is heavy flow of people to and from, then, it is more than possible to make this amount of money daily.
Some years back, the toilets around the CBD were criminal hideouts and inhabited by street urchins. But the defunct Nairobi City Council called for Public-Private Partnerships where today’s Iko Toilet and Alika Cleaning Systems companies came in to dominate this sector.
Iko Toilet boss David Kuria paints a clean picture of the profits he rakes in with just four toilets in the city.
According to the Nairobian, a subsidiary of the Standard, Kuria makes Sh40, 000 daily while Alika’s boss Tom Makale who runs seven toilets ploughs in Sh70, 000 daily. The smaller players in the business make upto Sh10, 000 daily with a single toilet.
Makale who is also the CEO of Unique Loo Limited has been in the business for close to 20 years. He says he has educated his two children in high-end universities abroad from the profits he rakes in.
His children went to United Kingdom’s University of Portsmouth, University of Bedfordshire and University of Birmingham respectively. “All this is money from the toilets,” says he.
The business is so lucrative now that there are wrangles between players who now include youths seeking to have a share in running it.
“Business is even better when it rains. We are talking of an income of over Sh300,000 per toilet per month, yet rent for the same toilet goes for just Sh20,000 or less,” one of the operators said.
Kuria added: “Every day, about one million people come to the city centre and a big fraction of them need sanitation services, some twice or more daily. And this demand is also high at night, but because of insecurity, it is hard to operate past 9pm.”
With such profits, the county government has written to the investors giving a notice that all public toilets will since be under the county government and will be managed by youths as a way of creating employment.
“To this effect, it has been decided that henceforth, public toilets will be managed by youth groups as a way of employment creation and youth empowerment. The county government is therefore in the process of procuring new managers for the toilets under the new policy directive,” said the then acting county secretary Leboo ole Morintat.
A county officer however, says under the new changes by the county government, there is a provision that allows partnership between the county government and a private entity to provide lavatory services at an agreed fee.