Nairobi County Government will be fast tracking the drafting of a bill to address decongestion and traffic in the Central Business District. This is in response to recommendations from the Nairobi Business Coalition during the County Dialogue Forum held in Nairobi.
The County Dialogue Forums are an ongoing initiative by Business Membership Organizations to have structured dialogue with county governments in a bid to ensure that their recommendations are included in the counties Annual Development Plans (ADPs) and the supporting legislative agenda. The ADPs are part of a legally enforced performance management framework for county governments. They detail prioritized projects and planned activities among other things for counties. The Legislative Agenda constitutes a set of policies and laws to facilitate the actualization of some of these priorities. The County Dialogue Forums in the first phase are being held in 8 counties namely Uasin Gishu, Machakos, Nakuru, Kisumu, Vihiga, Kiambu, Mombasa and Nairobi.
“This will be the Nairobi City County Public Road Transport and Traffic Management Bill, 2019.We are looking at the transport issues in the county including decongesting CBD. The challenge is that public transport vehicles come into the CBD and occupy the streets causing congestion. The bill will look at alternative areas where these vehicles can go and make it law,” said Eng. Fredrick Karanja, Nairobi County Chief Officer Roads, Public Works and Transport.
Some businesses have raised concerns about congestion in the CBD and the resultant effects to their businesses.
“The development of a legal framework would be a plus. Some businesses have closed down in the CBD because most people try their best to avoid the CBD and that results in a loss of business. We can do more business if the CBD has less vehicles especially during work hours,” said Robert Juma, Secretary of the Nairobi Business Coalition.
He went on to say that the bill will take into consideration the views of the private sector during the public participation process to ensure that the private sector own the bill because such measures by the Nairobi county government have experienced resistance in the past.
The private sector during the county dialogue forums held recently in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu expressed concern about how the public participation process is conducted by the county governments. They cited short time frames and not engaging the relevant stakeholders as some of their concerns. The county governments are however welcoming of the move by the private sector to engage more in matters of public participation and are happy to have organized meetings with them in the future to ensure that their interests are taken care of.
Other measures that the Nairobi county Government is taking to ensure that the CBD is decongested is to raise the parking fees within the CBD to Kshs 400, a proposal that is currently in the county’s finance bill of 2019.
The Nairobi Business Coalition is constituted of 15 business membership organizations such as Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Kenya National Hawkers Association (KENAHA), Kenya Pharmaceutical Association (KPA), Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA), Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK), and Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) among others.