President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed three bills into law among them one that redefines the status of a town to be declared a city.
The Head of State signed into law; The Urban Areas and Cities (Amendment) Bill 2017, The Petroleum Bill 2017 and the Energy Bill 2017.
The Urban Areas and Cities (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed by the Senate and is intended to “accelerate efficiently and quality services to the people,” according to the President.
Under the new law, the number of residents required for an urban center to become a city has been reduced from 500,000 to 250,000.
The new law allows a county government to declare an urban center a municipality if it has at least 50,000 residents.
The new law says an urban will gain the status of a town if it has at least 10,000 residents while a market center will only need at least 2,000 people.
With this law in place, towns such as Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Kakamega, Kitale, and Naivasha might become cities soon. Currently, Kenya has three cities led by Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.
There will be boards that will be required to run and manage cities and municipalities with appointment specifics outlined in the law.
The signing into law of The Petroleum Bill 2017 and The Energy Bill 2017 has led to the establishment of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority that will be charged with relating the generation, importation, exportation, supply, and usage of electrical energy.
The Authority will also regulate the importation, refining, exportation, transportation, storage and sale of petroleum and petroleum products except for crude oil.
The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation have also been established. It will oversee the implementation of the Rural Electrification Program, manage the Rural Electrification Program Fund and source for funds for the electrification program.