In a bid to improve service delivery, the Nairobi City County government has unveiled a proposal to divide the Kenyan capital into five distinct administrative boroughs, a plan that will require an investment of approximately Sh2.039 billion ($18.5 million). The proposal, submitted for the fiscal year 2023/2024, is now awaiting approval by the Nairobi City County Assembly.
The budget estimates, which were presented by Acting Chief Officer Lydia Mathia, specify that the capital expenditure for establishing the boroughs will amount to Sh540 million ($4.9 million). Additionally, Sh100 million ($906,000) will be allocated to operations and maintenance, and Sh1.4 billion ($12.7 million) for the salaries and allowances of borough staff.
To make the vision a reality, the county intends to spend Sh850 million ($7.7 million) on acquiring five acres of land for the construction of borough offices. The construction itself will cost Sh500 million ($4.5 million), while the fencing and rebranding of the borough units will require an additional Sh291 million ($2.6 million) over the next five years.
A series of stakeholder forums, estimated to cost Sh50 million ($453,000), will be held to discuss the establishment of the boroughs, which will also include five city boards and governance structures. The creation of these structures is expected to cost a total of Sh95 million ($860,000) over the span of three years.
The county executive has proposed hiring a total of 71 staff members for the boroughs and other administrative counties, incurring an expense of Sh95 million ($860,000) over the next five years. The furnishing and equipping of the borough offices will require an additional Sh100 million ($906,000) in investment.
The remaining funds will be directed toward the construction and maintenance of four new sub-county and ward offices, as well as the upkeep of existing sub-counties and wards. The Nairobi City County currently comprises 17 sub-counties and 85 wards. Additionally, City Hall and the City Hall Annexe are undergoing renovation and refurbishment at a cost of Sh320 million ($2.9 million).
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja’s vision to divide the city into five administrative units is modeled after the municipality system in the United States. New York City, for instance, is divided into five boroughs, each represented by a borough president.
Each of Nairobi’s proposed boroughs will encompass three or four sub-counties. The Southern borough will consist of four sub-counties in Embakasi, the Eastern borough will have four sub-counties in Kibera, the Northern borough will include three sub-counties in the Kasarani and Roysambu area, the Central Borough will be made up of three wards in the city center, and the Western Borough will encompass three wards around the Westlands area.
According to Mathia, the purpose of the boroughs is to enhance public service delivery and create a city of order in line with Sakaja’s vision. The proposed changes will undergo public participation before being presented to the county assembly for approval. If approved, the boroughs are expected to be operational by June 2023, with construction of the borough offices beginning shortly thereafter.
Jared Akama, the Chairperson of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and Member of County Assembly for Mugumu-ini, highlighted the need for the county to allocate funds for training and sensitization of city residents about the new administrative units. The budget proposals are set to be presented to the county assembly for approval ahead of the new financial year, which begins on July 1, 2023.