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Counties rush to meet Sh38b grant deadline



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Meru County has inaugurated its municipal board, even as Isiolo forwarded the names of nine nominees to the assembly for vetting as they seek to benefit from two key grants amounting to Sh38 billion.

The United Kingdom will give Sh8 billion to municipalities under the Sustainable Urban Development Programme, as the World Bank funds the Kenya Urban Support Programme to the tune of Sh30 billion. Only counties with municipal boards are eligible for the funding.

Last Friday, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi introduced the board, chaired by Bishop Kirimi Buria, to the business community and asked it to support the team.

The meeting was also attended by Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)’s Meru Chapter officials.

With the board in place before the December 10 deadline, Meru County is now set to apply for funding.

Some of the programmes that will be implemented in the projects include rebuilding of roads in the town, refurbishing markets and construction of modern kiosks.

“We request your associations to work together in achieving these goals. We have invited UN Habitat to work with us, which they have accepted. Meru town upgrading has also been funded by the World Bank at Sh100 million in a project that will commence in March next year,” the governor said at the meeting.

Concerning the kiosks, Mr Murungi cautioned MCAs against politicising the project by threatening to protest in a bid to have the project extended to their areas.

Trade, Tourism and Co-operatives Executive Maingi Mugambi said his department would facilitate setting up of market associations in all towns across the county.

“We have outlined their structure, procedure to be followed in the election of officials, their functions and responsibilities. The associations will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the projects are a success,” Mr Mugambi said.

The projects come at a time the government has pledged to rebuild infrastructure in Meru Town at a cost of Sh1 billion.

This includes construction of a five kilometre dual carriageway from Gitimbine on the east of the town to Gitoro, along the Meru-Nanyuki road.

Currently, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority is building two bypasses — eastern and western — which are expected to ease congestion in the town — at a cost of Sh3 billion.

In Isiolo, County Assembly Speaker Hussein Halakhe said the clerk has received names of the nominees but was yet to table them in House.

“A special sitting might be convened to vet the nominees for approval since MCAs would have already proceeded for recess,” he said.

In July, the assembly approved a municipal charter which was later approved by Governor Mohamed Kuti, paving the way for Isiolo Town to attain a municipal status.

The county executive had delegated the process of competitive recruitment of the board members to the County Public Service Board.

He said his government has already drawn up a strategy that will see streets expanded, sewerage systems overhauled and markets rebuilt. He asked MCAs to support the programmes.