Business in Kiambu County is set to receive a major boost following plans to erect over 20,000 street lights through an ambitious programme by a gubernatorial aspirant.
The programme set to be implemented by Thika MP Patrick Wainaina through his 24-hour economy blue print aims to facilitate business people with a favourable trading environment and eliminate security threats.
Speaking while erecting electricity poles at Matangini area in Juja Sub County yesterday, Wainaina said he would work closely with Kenya Power and Lighting Company to implement the programme adding that he plans to install about 6,000 street lights by August.
He has done over 2,000 street lamps in Thika constituency during his five years tenure which he wants to replicate in each of the constituencies. He said they have identified areas, especially shopping centres and those poorly lit, where the lights could be erected.
“We have started here at Matangini and we hope to increase to close to 6,000 lamps by August before increasing our coverage in the coming months. Those who have areas where they feel the need for street lights should liaise,” he said.
He said the 24-hour economy plan is meant to boost and transform business operations in one of the most productive counties so as to accelerate economic growth.
Wainaina, a proponent of the Buy Kenya initiative, said power connections in rural areas should be promoted as a driver to spurring economic growth through creation of value-addition industries.
“We are targeting a 24-hour economy and the project is a move towards that direction; we want to drive away the darkness that has restricted business hours in our towns,” he said.
Matangini traders led by Hellen Ndanu and Patrick Kinuthia lauded the project saying they would no longer be forced to close their enterprises early due to security fears.
Kinuthia, an agrovet operator, said initially, he would close at 7pm due to darkness, but will now work till 11pm.
“I used to close my business at around 7pm due to lack of proper lighting, muggings from robbers, but after the installation of the street lights I can now extend my business working hours without worrying about my security or even power blackout,” said Kinuthia.
Bodaboda operators led by Wilis Kamau said they would now be able to transport their customers to their homes till late without any fear.
Besides the street lights, the MP is on an empowerment programme to distribute 2 million avocado and macadamia seedlings to farmers in efforts to boost earnings.
Last week, he gave out over 50,000 seedlings to farmers in Gatundu North Sub County for planting during this season.
By Muoki Charles