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Counties urged to enact Urban Act for growth

Zachary Ochuodho @zachuodho

County governments have been urged to implement the Urban Areas and Cities Act to enhance effective services delivery to their urban population by Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

According to a study conducted by the Institute, Nairobi county emerged top with an average of 63 score points, followed by Nakuru, which scored an average of 56, Eldoret 55.6, Mombasa 55.1, Machakos 52.9 and Kisumu 47.6 in the overall Urban Performance Index (API).

The score implies acceptable performance by all the six areas in services delivery, provision of a friendly investment environment and effective and transparent asset and resource management.

The study which was done under three clusters – conditions for residents, conditions for investment and principles of governance, reveals that the six urban areas interviewed did not perform well in transport, investment and trade and budget sector.

IEA deputy chief executive John Mutua said for counties to attract investment, they need to initiate comprehensive reform programmes to strengthen business and investment environment through collaborative efforts between the national and county governments.

The study, Kenya Urban Areas Performance Index, 2017, revealed that there is a need to provide an enabling environment for business and potential investors through harmonisation of county tax regimes with the national Government.

“This policy will be useful upon adoption by counties and urban areas to enhance local revenue mobilisation. Besides, it will also help urban areas to harmonise their tax regime which is critical in reducing prejudices on economic activities,” said Mutua.

According to the study, all the six urban areas need to make some improvement on the principle of good governance cluster ( effectiveness and transparency in the management of assets and public resources) but a major improvement on providing favourable conditions for businesses and potential investors.

The study also revealed that Nakuru, Eldoret, Nairobi and Kisumu performed well by securing a score of 89, 80, 80 and 73 respectively in the public utility sub-cluster.

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