President Uhuru Kenyatta has today signed three Bills into law.
The three Bills were presented to the President at State House, Nairobi. They are the Urban Areas and Cities (Amendment) Bill 2017, Petroleum Bill 2017 and Energy Bill 2017.
While assenting into law the Urban Areas and Cities Amendment Bill, Uhuru commended the Senate for acting with speed in passing laws intended to accelerate the efficient and quality service delivery.
The new law would enable County Governments to review the criteria provided for classifying an area as a city, municipality, town or market centre.
Under the new law, the number of the resident population required for a city has been reduced by half, from 500,000 to 250,000 people.
The same law allows a county to declare an urban area a municipality if it has a resident population of at least 50,000 residents.
For an area to be declared a town it has to have at least a population of 10,000 residents. A market centre would only require a population of at least 2,000 residents.
The law proposes establishment of boards to govern and manage cities and municipalities.
It also outlines requirements of those who will be appointed to manage the concerned boards.
The new energy law among other things proposes the establishment of three key national energy entities to manage and regulate energy resources.
The law establishes the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation and the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority will be mandated to regulate generation, importation, exportation, transmission, distribution, supply and usage of electrical energy with the exception of licensing of nuclear facilities.
It will also be required to regulate importation, refining, exportation, transportation, storage and sale of petroleum and petroleum products with the exception of crude oil.
The Authority will also be required to manage production, conversion, distribution, supply, marketing and usage of renewable energy.
The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation shall oversee the implementation of the Rural Electrification Programme, manage the Rural Electrification Programme Fund and also source for additional funds for the Rural Electrification Programme and renewable energy.
The 2017 Petroleum Bill will provide a framework for contracting, exploring, developing and producing petroleum.
The new law would also be used to formulate national petroleum policy and conduct petroleum operations. It will be a reference point in the establishment of petroleum institutions.
Under the new law, the national government, county governments and local communities shall receive a fair share of benefit from revenues emanating from petroleum operations.
A county government is to receive a share equivalent to 20 per cent of the national government’s share while local communities will receive a share equivalent to five per cent of the national government share.