By PSCU/ Beth Nyaga
Cabinet has approved the creation of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, key to removing the capital’s traffic gridlock and unlocking its vast economic potential.
The Cabinet, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, was first briefed on the Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority Bill, 2016, which will provide relevant laws to run the authority.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia sought approval for the formation of the authority through the Executive Order issued by President Kenyatta in February.
The authority will address the transport challenges that have hampered the economy of the wider Nairobi Metropolitan Area covering the city, Murang’a, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos.
The functions of the authority will include developing a coherent transport policy supportive of the development of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area.
It will oversee the implementation of an integrated transport master plan and will also manage the development of a sustainable, integrated Mass Rapid Transit System strategy.
Upgrading of the transport system of the metropolitan area will have huge benefits for the country’s economy, which is estimated to be losing more than Sh100 billion annually due to Nairobi’s inefficient transport system.
Studies show that Nairobi has a sleeping population of about 4.2 million people and a day population of 7 million people who mainly come from the surrounding counties of Kiambu, Machakos, Murang’a and Kajiado.
The Ministry of Transport has already entered into an agreement with the Five Counties the authority will cover for the development of an integrated transport system.
In February, President Kenyatta issued an Executive Order directing the establishment of the agency.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Bill provides for a council that will oversee the running of the metropolitan transport authority.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Council will be headed by a chairperson to be appointed by the President.
The functions of the council will include receiving the annual budget estimates of the authority and approve external funding and bilateral agreements in line with the national financial and fiscal policies.