- Lwandanyi ward MCA Tonny Barasa said it would not make economic sense to channel Sh200 million to the economic bloc when the county is struggling to provide basic amenities.
Members of Bungoma county assembly have shot down a bill seeking to enable the devolved unit to join the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB).
The bloc was formed in 2015 by the region's governors and comprises 14 counties of Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homabay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Mugori, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Transnzoia and Vihiga counties.
The MCAs, however, voted against the bill that would have seen Bungoma county contribute Sh200 million, an amount that all member counties are required to pump into the bloc.
Speaking during debate on Wednesday, Lwandanyi ward MCA Tonny Barasa said it would not make economic sense to channel such monies to the economic bloc when the county is struggling to provide basic amenities.
“We cannot channel Sh200 million to construct the LREB headquarters in Kisumu when Bungoma is straining to provide basic economic basic infrastructure,” Mr Barasa said.
Ndivisi ward MCA Martin Wanyonyi Pepela said there are no clear immediate benefits for joining the regional bloc.
“As it stands now the county has so many problems to address including the corona pandemic and joining such a bloc is of no hurry,” he said.
Nandi and Kericho MCAs have also rejected the plan for the counties to join the economic bloc
The counties that passed the bills include Kisii, Migori, Kakamega, Kisumu and Nyamira.
So far, the bloc has pooled Sh1.6 billion of the required Sh2.6 billion to establish the bank, with each of the member counties required to contribute Sh200 million. So far 10 counties have made their contributions some in part.