Leaders claim council driving away investors
By KARANJA NJOROGE
Leaders and the business community in Nakuru have accused the local Municipal Council of pursuing policies that hinder investment in the town.
Stakeholders said the town, which was two years ago named by the UN Habitat as the fastest growing town in East Africa, faces major development challenges.
During a meeting organised by the Kenya Investment Authority, it emerged that facilities have been overstretched by a rapid increase in population.
Nakuru DC Kangethe Thuku said with 1.6 million people there was need to expand existing infrastructure to cope with the high population.
"After the post-election violence there was a population boom caused by people who were looking for safe and secure investment destination and the town’s estimated growth stood at 13 per cent," said the DC.
Kangethe, however, said the state of water and power provision and the road network should be urgently addressed if Nakuru is to compete effectively with other counties for investment and growth.
He said stakeholders, council and traders were disjointed in their efforts to improve the status of the town.
"One of the major bottlenecks we are facing is disjointed tackling of problems facing the town with various departments not working in tandem," he added.
During the forum the council was taken to task over levying high licence fees and prohibitive property valuation roll, which are scaring away investors.
"The council has a responsibility of showing the business community that it is out to serve them and they are not merely people who pay taxes," said the Chairman of the Nakuru Business District Association Boniface Muhia.
Mr Muhia said corruption, especially in the tendering system, remains a major cause of stagnation in development.
"It is common whenever you want to supply goods to the Government for those in charge to ask you to inflate the cost of the goods and services," he added.
Speakers at the forum said despite receiving millions of shillings from taxpayers and the central government, the council had failed to streamline its service provision.
Some of the streets in the town have become an eyesore and are impassable due to uncollected garbage, flooding and potholes.
"These issues have scared away potential investors," said one of the traders.
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