Counties

North Rift leaders welcome move to elevate more towns to cities

A bird’s view of Eldoret town on September 25, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG
A bird’s view of Eldoret town on September 25, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG 

The decision by Cabinet to elevate two major Kenyan towns to city status has been welcomed by leaders in the North Rift region.

Residents and county officials are expecting that Eldoret town will be one of the towns granted said status, a move that they say will unlock the region's untapped economic fortunes.

“Looking at it, it will not only attract more investors but will improve the tourism in this region as it serves as the economic hub of the North Rift economic bloc,” Simeon Cheplel, Uasin Gishu County's chief officer said today.

“When the town will be elevated, it will contribute to the infrastructural development as the national government will have to chip in to support it,” he added.

Cabinet last week made the move to to amend the Urban Areas and Cities Act to provide for five cities, up from the current three.

It approved to have the amendment Bill submitted to Parliament for scrutiny and approval.

Though the brief did not specify the targeted towns, Nakuru and Eldoret are likely to be elevated to cities, joining the exclusive club of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

Good for business

According to Mr Cheplel, Eldoret town collected revenues amounting to Sh850 million in the 2015/16 period.

The town has also witnessed rapid growth in recent years with Governor Jackson Mandago calling for elevation of the town to city status late last year, saying his administration had created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“Those who do business in Eldoret can attest to this. We have really changed this town, which I feel now deserves to be elevated to a city,” he said during his Jamhuri Day address in December.

The governor noted then that his administration had created an enabling environment for business to thrive, adding it has led to an increase in the number of investments in the town.

Under Cabinet's proposed amendments, there would be five cities, 64 municipalities, 66 townships and 80 market centres.