, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – President Uhuru Kenyatta will Thursday be in Kibera to switch on the lighting of the slum, rolling out a massive program by the National Government to light up the whole of Nairobi.
The lighting up of the Kenyan capital will kick off the powering of streets across all counties in a program dubbed ‘Powering Freedom’ spearheaded by the Ministry of Energy which is billed to usher in the 24-hour economy.
This comes after Wednesday’s signing of two agreements between the National Government and the County of Nairobi on lighting and infrastructure. The signing of the agreements at State House, Nairobi, was witnessed by President Kenyatta.
The first agreement signed between Nairobi County and the Ministry of Energy on behalf of the National Government involves a Sh6 billion two-phased project that will light up Nairobi and boost the city’s capacity to conduct a 24-hour economy.
The second agreement signed by the National Government, represented by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, and the Nairobi County involves cooperation between the two levels of government in the city’s infrastructure development. This includes road construction, water, sewerage and lighting, part of which is being implemented by the National Youth Service in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. The
Speaking after signing the first agreement on behalf of the National Government, Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir disclosed that the first phase of the lighting project – which has already begun at a cost of Kshs 1 billion – will see the rehabilitation of 27,000 lighting points and will be completed by the end of December.
“We have put in place about 23 project teams which are basically working round the clock to ensure the project is completed on schedule,” Chirchir said.
Chirchir said the second phase – which will cost close to 5 billion – will involve additional 57000 lighting points across the city and kicks off in January 2015 to end by June 2015.
“This will ensure that Nairobi is at par with other cities of the world. It will also guarantee a secure and safe city for our investors to work in under the 24 hour economy which we are basically trying to promote,” the CS said.
He said the National Government, through the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), has come up with a tariff which will lower the cost of lighting up counties.
“ERC approved a street lighting tariff of Kshs 4.3 per KW hour which is is 62% reduction on the cost of lighting to encourage street lighting in all counties,” Chirchir said.
Governor Evans Kidero thanked President Kenyatta for ensuring that resources are available for the implementation of the lighting project.
He echoed Chirchir’s sentiments that provision of lighting will reduce crime and increase the number of hours available for working and doing business in the city.
“Today is a special day because we are fulfilling the spirit of the Constitution; that is consultation and cooperation between the County and National governments for the benefit of the people of Kenya,” the Governor said.
He expressed optimism that with the completion of the lighting project, the people of Nairobi will enjoy longer and safe working hours than before.