Western Kenya counties plan regional investment bank

Kisumu County governor Jack Ranguma. He said
Kisumu County governor Jack Ranguma. He said that each of the counties would deposit Sh100million to kick off the project. Photo/TOM OTIENO 

A section of governors have sought the services of US-based company to help them start an investment bank for 11 counties in western Kenya.

The county bosses want financial and human resource consultancy firm, Deloitte Touche, to suggest structures and an implementation programme for the institution.

Kisumu governor Jack Ranguma Wednesday told the Nation, each of the counties would deposit Sh100 million to kick off the project. He said the bank will lend to the counties, encourage deposits from the diaspora community, ease access to loans and stem exploitation by commercial banks.

According to Mr Ranguma, counties whose allocation may be delayed by the Treasury will be able to borrow money from the common bank.

“Our intention of coming up with a western economic bloc and specifically a common bank is to help mainstream the people. Without a bank, you cannot achieve any economic prospects,” said Mr Ranguma.

The counties that have so far expressed interest include Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia. The 11th county is yet to be incorporated since three counties had also expressed their interest. They include Bomet, Nandi and Kericho.

However, Mr Ranguma said priority may be given Kericho because of its proximity to the Western Kenya region.

Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama said through the regional bank, the counties will be able save a lot of money from the diaspora and locally.

“A lot of money from diaspora goes to commercial financial institutions and as a result, county residents don’t benefit from this money directly,” Mr Nyagarama said. He added that with the regional bank in place, there will be more jobs and economic growth for all the counties on board.

Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga said the move will ensure all the locals access loans.

“The existing banks have given many restrictions that have made our people shy away from applying for loans,” said Mr Akaranga.

He said the institution will offer the local people soft loans that they can use to start businesses.