President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday launched a Sh1.2 billion national street lighting programme at the Makadara Grounds in Mombasa County.
The programme will be implemented in trading centres across the country in a move aimed at encouraging a 24-hour economy by providing job opportunities and ensuring growth in various sectors nationally.
The President asked the Kenya Power company to ensure that the country achieves its target of providing power to 70 per cent of Kenyans by next year and 100 percent by 2020.
President Kenyatta described the project as one of the biggest by his government and added that by March this year, electricity will have reached all urban areas to boost a 24-hour economy across Kenya.
He added that the government will invest heavily in geothermal power that will ensure electricity supply to Kenyans at an affordable price.
“We will maintain the momentum we have started to achieve our goal of universal power supply by 2020 instead of 2030 as planned earlier,” President Kenyatta said.
INCREASED POWER SUPPLY
The President noted that currently, 4.2 million Kenyans have access to power supply compared to 2.3 million in 2013, an increase of 52 per cent.
The multi-billion project will ensure 52 towns in Kenya have access to power supply.
The project will also see all primary schools in the country connected to power.
“We have reduced the cost of street lights from Sh11.25 to Sh4.35 per kilowatt.
Businesses should now take advantage of this and expand their trade that will boost a 24-hour economy across the country,” the President said.
The launch was graced by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir among a host of other national and local politicians.
Governor Joho said Mombasa would remain committed to the agreement between Kenya Power and the county government for the Mwanga Mtaani (the project’s Mombasa edition) by maintaining the street light poles and ensuring the payment of electricity bills incurred by the project.
Energy CS Keter, addressing his first public function since he was appointed, said his ministry will strive to achieve the promised connectivity targets made by the government.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir called for an end to the “massive police swoops’’ in his constituency that led to frequent harassment by the authorities.
“This should stop so that now the people can freely engage in their businesses and enjoy the benefits derived from the street lightning project,” he said.
The Kenya Power company chairman Mr Kenneth Marende pledged continued affordable power to Kenyans and bring an end to frequent power outages.
The President at the same time cautioned leaders against focusing on petty politics and fighting all the time and urged them to work with his government to bring development to the people.
President Kenyatta said he was free to travel to any part of the country in an apparent response to the opposition Cord leaders who have questioned his prolonged stay in Mombasa which comes barely months before the Malindi parliamentary by election that will be held on March 7.
“There are people asking why the President has been in Mombasa for too long. Is Mombasa not in Kenya? What is the problem? I will continue my stay in Mombasa and I will even do the same in other regions such as Garissa, Nakuru Kisumu and others,” the President reiterated.
The President arrived in Mombasa on Christmas Eve last year and soon after the holidays, attended several functions that has focused on implementation of his administration’s electoral pledges.
On Wednesday, through State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, he announced an extension of his visit and outlined a program of functions lined up for him that included the issuance of thousands of title deeds and other development projects at the Coast.