The move to grant the 47 counties a 64 per cent special tariff cut in the ongoing nationwide street lighting project ‘Mwangaza Mtaani’ is a welcome development that will go a long way in spurring economic growth especially at the grassroots. The project that began in Nairobi County in 2014 whose main goals are to support a 24-hour economy in the devolved units and improve security was officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa County.
The Kenya Power and lighting company has already installed 12,000 Light Emitting Diode lamps across the country and lowered the street light tariffs from 11.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent. County governments should take advantage of these special tariff cut to promote economic activities in their jurisdictions. For instance traders have already started feeling the impact of the initiative; most of them say their businesses are now flourishing as they can operate until late hours. They say their profits have marginally improved and their expectations to have prosperous ventures are almost coming true. The economic benefits that lighting up these areas would bring are immense.
The programme is also a win-win scenario for Kenya power as it will recoup the steep tariff cuts by selling more units under the scheme. The government has already released Sh7.6 billion to finance installation in 52 towns. But even as the street lights are installed across the country, there is need to take urgent measures. Effort should not be spared to make sure that they work at the right time and broken lamps and poles are also repaired and maintained so as to enhance their purpose of fighting crime and promoting economic activities at night.
The main purpose for devolution is to ensure economic development is trickled down to the counties. This project will definitely have immense impact in the lives of many Kenyans through its implementation by the county governments so as to enhance trade and living standards across the country.
Sources:Daily Nation, Kplc.co.ke