The Kenyan Cabinet has approved elevation of two more towns to cities, bringing the number of Kenyan cities to five, including the capital Nairobi, Mombasa port city and Kisumu.
A brief from State House Thursday said that the Cabinet had agreed to amend the Urban Areas and Cities Act to provide for five cities.
Though the brief did not specify the targeted towns, Kenya’s largest urban centres behind Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu cities are Nakuru and Eldoret in that order. “Under the proposed amendments there would be five cities, 64 municipalities, 66 townships and 80 market centres,” the State House statement said.
Currently, only two urban centres are classified as municipalities while 130 have township status. This means the number of townships will be cut by half if Parliament adopts the bill.
The Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011, which is set to be amended, states that for an urban area to be classified as a city, it must have a population of at least 250,000 residents based on the last population census data.
It must also have an integrated urban area or city development plan and should demonstrable capacity to generate sufficient revenue to sustain its operation.
Nairobi collected Sh11.7 billion in revenues in the 2015/16 financial year, followed by Mombasa (Sh2.9 billion), Kiambu (Sh2.5 billion) while Nakuru came in fourth at Sh2.3 billion and Sh1.8 billion for Narok.
Machakos was sixth having collected Sh1.1 billion, according to Controller of Budget records. The Cabinet approved the amendment bill set to be submitted to Parliament for scrutiny and approval.
“The bill is aimed at amending the Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011 in order to harmonise and cater for the classification of urban centres in the country in a more realistic and viable manner than is provided for in the current law.” The government had in 2015 announced plans to merge 11 major towns into six metropolitan regions.