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Traffic jams costing Nairobi County Sh50 million a day

NEWS
By By LILLIAN KIARIE | October 9th 2013
Traffic jams in Nairobi are estimated to cost the county Sh50 million daily. [PHOTO: FILE]

By LILLIAN KIARIE

Traffic jams in Nairobi are costing the county an estimated Sh50 million daily, a top official has said.

Deputy Governor of Nairobi Jonathan Mueke said poor infrastructure and governance had led to various bottlenecks including traffic jams whose economic cost has been estimated to be Sh50 million per day.

He disclosed that plans and projects were under way to turn around the dismal performance of the county, which has dogged it in various aspects.

Mueke was speaking at a Governors Round Table held in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Over 12 Business Membership Organisations (BMOs), including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (Kam), Petroleum Institute of East Africa, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Kenya National Farmers Federation, attended the forum.

The forum was organised to discuss ways in which the county government could work with the private sector to grow its economy.

Over 150 BMO representatives from were present.

Last year, the capital city was ranked sixth in terms of growth potential in Africa. And in a global World Bank ranking, the city was placed at 166 out of 183 in terms of doing business. 

Public participation

The business community raised issues concerning public participation and asked the county government to incorporate stakeholders in the development and formulation of county laws.

They also want to be included in formulating laws on security, tax harmonisation between counties, service delivery, land use and management issues, which were hurting business operations and the overall cost of doing business in the county. 

Kam chairman Polycarp Igathe said the forum was a platform for the private sector to suggest solutions.

“This forum is a sign that Nairobi is off to a good start and the business coalition has proven that power is not the narcotic of choice in Kenya and that we can work together,” he said.

He added that the business community in Nairobi is committed to contributing to the Nairobi Trust Fund to augment the funding for some county projects.

Mueke admitted that the current business licencing programme is lengthy, cumbersome and inconvenient.

 “We are working on decentralising all wards and sub-counties,” he said, adding that 18 months from today the county would have completed the automation of Nairobi City County’s licencing system.

He said automation of the county’s financial system would enable the county raise funds using other outlets.

“This will increase our credit worthiness. Our budget this year is about Sh24 billion. We need nearly Sh1 trillion to change the face of this city,” said Mueke.

The deputy governor also spoke of a surveillance programme in the city, which would increase security including a project to upgrade the current lighting in the city.

“We have two challenges; vandalism and maintenance. The street lighting plan is being worked on so that we prioritise how to light all our streets and neighbourhoods,” he said.

“Once you light up the city, security increases by 50 per cent. There is also a CCTV programme in which we will put up 42 cameras in the central business district,” he added.

Security issues are important both for business and for residents.  The current city population is approximately 3.138 million, with 2 million living in slums where crime rates are high. By 2030, it is estimated that Nairobi’s population will be 5.21 million.

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