Counties

Kisumu third county to pass law for regional bloc

oparanya

Lake Region Economic Bloc Chairman and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya addresses Kisumu County Assembly members and strategic stakeholders during the LREB county sensitization meeting in Kisumu on July 5,2018. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • All the 14 counties that form the bloc are required to pass such Bills to pave the way for roll-out of joint projects such as a regional development bank.

Kisumu County has passed a Bill meant to ratify its entry into the Lake Region Development Bloc, becoming the third devolved unit to lay such a legal framework ahead of a meeting slated for next week.

It joins Kakamega and Kisii, which had earlier prepared internal laws to back up their intention to share resources with neighbours. Other members are Homa Bay, Nyamira, Migori, Busia, Vihiga, Bungoma, Bomet, Kericho, Trans Nzoia, Nandi and Siaya.

All the 14 counties that form the bloc are required to pass such Bills to pave the way for roll-out of joint projects such as a regional development bank.

Next week, the 14 counties meet in Bomet for a second summit. Initially, organisers had said they would also be launching the bank. But Nandi County government has since hinted it may not release the Sh200 million seed capital that each county is supposed to contribute.

In Kisumu, the Bill was unanimously passed even as a section of MCAs asked the bloc to put on hold plans to establish a bank and give priority to reviving ailing sugar and cotton industries.

In a session steered by MCAs Erick Agolla and Julius Genga, the ward representatives said the formation of the bloc is a good idea but warned the emphasis on regional blank could cloud important projects.

“We have other pressing issues such as insecurity, collapsed industries and clannism to address in our counties. Pillars of this bloc should not be premised on a regional bank,” said Mr Genga.

Kolwa Central MCA Stephen Owiti said they will also push for amendment to allow elected ward representatives to vote directly for their chairpersons and not through the Speakers.

There have been concerns over the fate of the regional bloc as various county assemblies dragged their feet on ratifying it.