What you need to know:
- While Meru town has received Sh100 million annually over the last three years, municipalities have been created in Maua (Igembe South) and Timau (Buuri).
- Boards will now manage Maua and Timau towns after they received municipality charters.
The Meru County Government will receive Sh300 million from the World Bank’s Kenya Urban Support Programme next financial year following the elevation of three major towns into municipalities.
The devolved unit seeks to have two more towns attain the status to accelerate growth, Governor Kiraitu Murungi said.
While Meru town has received Sh100 million annually over the last three years, municipalities have been created in Maua (Igembe South) and Timau (Buuri).
Those targeted for upgrade are Nkubu in Imenti South and Mikinduri (Tigania East).
Mr Murungi said the World Bank project seeks to transform the urban centres through infrastructure development, sewer systems and the creation of green spaces, among other facilities.
“We have transformed Meru town using the funds so Maua and Timau towns will also benefit from Sh100 million each annually. The creation of two more municipalities will mean that we will be receiving Sh500 million. This money will go a long way in developing infrastructure in these towns and ensure they are well planned,” the governor said.
Boards will now manage Maua and Timau towns after they received municipality charters.
Despite the millions from miraa business that flow into the second largest town in the county, Maua suffers from poor planning.
“We’re aware of the challenges residents face in these two towns including lack of water, roads and sewerage, but with the formation of the boards, we will use the funds to actualise plans that will ensure all these facilities are put in place,” Mr Murungi said.
World Bank says the Kenya Urban Support Programme aims to strengthen urban areas to deliver improved infrastructure and services, considering that the country remains under-urbanised.
The towns’ elevation into municipalities involved drawing a 20-year blueprint through public participation, which took three years to complete, said Mr Jeremiah Lenya, the Lands, Housing and Urban Planning county executive.
The integrated urban development plans for the two towns incorporated the views of the residents, including their unique economic activities, Mr Lenya added.
“While we’ve provided for miraa markets in Maua, the plan in Timau where there is large-scale farming has more service sector facilities due to the high number of people working in these farms.”
At least 42 other market centres are targeted for planning, he said.
“The centres are growing rapidly but they are poorly planned. We’re redrawing the plans to ensure all services are catered for because these are the urban centres of the future,” Mr Lenya added.