What mea­sures have you put in place to cut down on wage bill?

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - SUNDAY REVIEW -

Laikipia is full of tragic in­ci­dents that are likely to dis­cour­age one from liv­ing or in­vest­ing there. These are in­se­cu­rity, mainly cat­tle rustling that has some­times ended up with loss of lives. What would be your take on the is­sue and what at­tempts are be­ing made to stem in­se­cu­rity?

Fran­cis Nju­guna, Laikipia

Laikipia has suf­fered its share of in­se­cu­rity. How­ever, it is a won­der­ful place to live in. In­deed it has the high­est life ex­pectancy in Kenya of 71.9 years. To­gether with the neigh­bour­ing coun­ties of Baringo, Sam­buru and Isi­olo, we have started the Amaya Tri­an­gle Ini­tia­tive os­ten­si­bly to seek last­ing peace and so­cio-eco­nomic pros­per­ity of the re­gion by en­cour­ag­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy in live­stock hus­bandry. Your county has a num­ber of pri­vate ranches which play host to thou­sands of tourists ev­ery year. These tourists ob­vi­ously pay for their stay and en­joy see­ing a va­ri­ety of wild an­i­mals in these ranches. Does your county ben­e­fit in form of rev­enue from this ac­tiv­ity like other coun­ties in the coun­try which have wildlife as a re­source? David M Kigo, Nairobi

Yes, there are many ranches in Laikipia. They con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to both county rev­enue and tourism. More broadly my gov­ern­ment is keen to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity of both small-scale agri­cul­ture, ranch­ing and pas­toral­ism. For both ranch­ing and pas­toral­ism, we have in­tro­duced and are pro­mot­ing feed­lots. We have also im­proved the slaugh­ter houses and are work­ing to re­move in­ef­fi­cien­cies in the value chain.

What mea­sures have you put in place to cut down on the wage bill and put more money on de­vel­op­ment than in salaries? J. Mwa­bali

I have in­sti­tuted re­forms in the pub­lic ser­vice in­clud­ing vol­un­tary early re­tire­ment. These mea­sures will re­duce the wage bill. We have also put in place mea­sures aimed at im­prov­ing our own source rev­enue. We are digi­tis­ing our sys­tems es­pe­cially rev­enue col­lec­tion and build­ing the ca­pac­ity of the County Rev­enue Board. The fact that our lo­cal rev­enue col­lec­tion has grown by 30 per cent in the past few months is as a re­sult of de­lib­er­ate ef­forts fo­cus­ing on lo­cal rev­enue col­lec­tion. What is your ad­min­is­tra­tion do­ing on boda boda men­ace in Nyahu­ruru town es­pe­cially those who park on walk­ways, leav­ing pedestrians to dan­ger­ously walk on roads? Stephen Mwaura

I am look­ing into des­ig­nated park­ing for boda boda. In ad­di­tion, we will soon launch a safety cam­paign. Mov­ing for­ward our road designs must con­sider pedestrians and pro­vide well done walk­ways.

Sir, you are do­ing a great job en­sur­ing the roads are clear and in­deed be­ing prop­erly car­peted in and around the coun­tys ma­jor towns. The con­cern I have re­ceived from traders as a re­porter in the area is the lack of enough space in the newly com­mis­sioned mar­ket. Have you re­ceived the same com­plaints? What are the short-term and long-term so­lu­tions for this ap­par­ent chal­lenge? Waweru Ki­rathe, Laikipia County

I have not re­ceived com­plaints on the mar­ket. We man­aged to re­deem the mar­ket from en­croach­ers and re­stored it to its orig­i­nal six acres. It can now ac­com­mo­date 2,300 traders but so far it has 1,980 traders cat­e­gorised ac­cord­ing to their mer­chan­dize. Our long-term plan is to have the traders con­struct uni­form and more durable struc­tures that can with­stand ad­verse weather. We want to re­duce or com­pletely erad­i­cate cases of food-borne dis­eases by hav­ing food traders at a cen­tral point. In ad­di­tion, we have found space for kiosk own­ers who were re­quired by Kenya Net­work Hi­ugh­ways Author­ity (KENHA) to move from road re­serves.

Ng'arua Millers was es­tab­lished be­fore the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion. My plan is to make the miller prof­itable as part of the ef­forts by my ad­min­is­tra­tion to en­cour­age value ad­di­tion of lo­cal com­modi­ties. We are build­ing maize ware­houses and dri­ers at Ki­namba, Sip­ili and Mu­tanga. We ex­pect this to in­crease the maize vqun­ti­ties for milling as well as cush­ion our pro­duc­ers from be­ing ex­ploited by mid­dle­men.

How do you em­brace na­tional unity in your county, es­pe­cially by em­ploy­ing peo­ple from other com­mu­ni­ties that re­flect the face of Kenya as com­pared to other coun­ties in Kenya? Okulo An­drew Guya, Nairobi

Laikipia is very cos­mopoli­tan. At least 24 of Kenya's com­mu­ni­ties live here. And this the is re­flected in our pub­lic ser­vice.

Does it bother you that the county with a huge de­vel­op­ment budget is still be­set with a huge num­ber of ad­min­is­tra­tive units (wards), such as Ig­wamitti in Laikipia West sub-county which be­come com­pletely cut off from the rest dur­ing rainy sea­sons due to a di­lap­i­dated road sys­tem? David Kinyua, Nyahu­ruru

Im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture is a key chal­lenge and my gov­ern­ment is up to it. A month or so ago, I held my sec­ond roundtable with all road sec­tor play­ers. We had deep con­ver­sa­tion on how we can max­i­mize on avail­able re­sources and stop du­pli­ca­tion of projects.

My ques­tion to you is whether you know that the county bur­saries for 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year have never been dis­bursed to univer­sity stu­dents in Muko­godo East. If yes, then which strate­gies have you put across to en­sure that ac­count­abil­ity is achieved? John­son Saidimu

We con­tinue to im­prove bur­sary cov­er­age and ef­fi­ciency of dis­burse­ment. Last year, we dis­bursed bur­saries to­talling Sh52 mil­lion to 9,583 stu­dents. We be­lieve that a good thing can be bet­ter and as such we will con­tinue re­view­ing and im­prov­ing our sys­tems for ef­fi­ciency.

Are you ready to al­low an­i­mal health prac­ti­tion­ers un­dergo an in­tern­ship payable monthly and later ab­sorb them in the county? Sammy Ga­chemi

Yes we wel­come an­i­mal health pro­fes­sion­als. In­deed, we are pro­mot­ing feed­lots as the mod­ern way to keep live­stock. Em­brac­ing such tech­nolo­gies and tap­ping of the po­ten­tial of the live­stock value chain will cre­ate more jobs both di­rectly and in­di­rectly.

Where do you see Laikipia County by the end of your term? John Wachuma

As the great­est county with the best qual­ity of life, in­no­va­tion, self­be­lief and im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity. En­sur­ing univer­sal ac­cess to qual­ity and af­ford­able health­care is key to achiev­ing qual­ity life. That is why we de­vel­oped a unique ap­proach in en­rolling house­holds to NHIF and ex­pand the 52 per cent cov­er­age that we have so far achieved.

Why do you seem to be de­vel­op­ing ur­ban ar­eas more than ru­ral ar­eas? John Wachuma

We are de­vel­op­ing both ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas. The work in ur­ban ar­eas is more known be­cause more peo­ple see it. For in­stance, So­lio Wa­ter Scheme cov­er­ing all the seven vil­lages of

So­lio Set­tle­ment is one of our big­ger projects. The Pesi - Salama Ru­mu­ruti road tra­verses Salama Ward. And we now have the first sur­gi­cal theatre in Laikipia North at Ki­manjo Sub-county Hos­pi­tal. In the next few days, we shall be com­mis­sion­ing sur­gi­cal the­atres for La­muria and Ndindika sub-county hospi­tals.

Some prop­erty own­ers in your county have with­stood lots of may­hem caused by herders from neigh­bour­ing coun­ties and who have no re­gard for sanc­tity to prop­erty own­er­ship. Kenyans of good­will some­times be­lieve this can only hap­pen in the so-called ba­nana re­publics. Sir, How have these dis­tur­bances af­fected your de­vel­op­ment agenda? How can they be re­solved? Komen, Moris, El­doret

Those who in­vaded peo­ple's farms were re­moved by law en­force­ment. I stand for very strict en­force­ment of the rule of law.

Other ac­tive mea­sures in­clude the Amaya Tri­an­gle Ini­tia­tive aimed at chang­ing the eco­nomic out­come and im­prove se­cu­rity. We have also in­vested in train­ing of the Na­tional Po­lice Re­servists and fa­cil­i­ties to com­pli­ment de­ploy­ment by the Kenya Po­lice Ser­vice.

What hap­pened to the con­struc­tion of Naru­moro to Ngareng’iro road? Con­trac­tors are no longer on site. Joseph Mu­turi

The con­trac­tors have had ca­pac­ity chal­lenges and the Kenya Ru­ral Roads Author­ity is seek­ing a so­lu­tion.

What are your plans to break the car­tels in the rev­enue depart­ment in or­der to max­imise on rev­enue col­lec­tion? Stan­ley Ndin­gori

We are au­tomat­ing rev­enue col­lec­tion to elim­i­nate any wrong do­ing. Au­toma­tion also makes it easy for ci­ti­zens to pay. How­ever, I wel­come any spe­cific in­for­ma­tion that could as­sist us take corrective ac­tion. What strat­egy do you have to tap the po­ten­tial of Laikipia’s Equa­tor tourism po­ten­tial? This sci­en­tific nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non can reg­is­ter tourism suc­cess. Mfalaki TN Mwangi, Mo­huhi

We will in­cor­po­rate equa­tor tourism into our strat­egy. In­deed other coun­tries such as in Latin Amer­ica have been able to do so. This will in­clude in­vest­ment to im­prove var­i­ous stop points along the equa­tor. Thank you for your sug­ges­tion.

By virtue of your elec­tion as the sec­ond gover­nor of Laikipia, one would be right to say that you are the only rel­a­tive of re­tired Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki who is ac­tively en­gaged in Kenyan pol­i­tics. Kindly tell us what you are do­ing to pro­mote his rich legacy es­pe­cially in trans­form­ing our coun­try’s econ­omy? Dan Mu­rugu, Nakuru

My lead­er­ship style fol­lows in the foot­steps of Mr Kibaki. I pre­fer ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sion mak­ing. That is why I was the first to pub­lish the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of the County Sta­tis­ti­cal Ab­stract, pulling to­gether key data sets. This al­lows my team and I to make de­ci­sions in­formed by data.

Sir, I wish to con­grat­u­late you for the good job that you have done for the one year you have been our gover­nor. How­ever, I would like to know your time­lines for the re-lo­ca­tion of the county head­quar­ters from Nanyuki to Ru­mu­ruti and the tar­ma­ck­ing of the road that con­nects the two towns which will go a long way in open­ing up the ex­pan­sive land. Dick­son Maitho, Laikipia

We suf­fered a set­back on the con­struc­tion of our of­fices in Ru­mu­ruti but we ex­pect the con­trac­tors back on site. We ex­pect to in­vest over Sh100 mil­lion this fi­nan­cial year on in­fra­struc­ture in Ru­mu­ruti. On the road, we are lob­by­ing KENHA to get it done. In the mean­time, main­te­nance works are on­go­ing on the en­tire road.

There are mas­sive il­le­gal­i­ties and cor­rup­tion in ten­der­ing. What ac­tions have you put in place to avoid this? J Mwa­bali

All pro­cure­ment is now be­ing done on IFMIS and re­sults pub­lished on the county's of­fi­cial web­site so that ev­ery­body can see what is be­ing done. Within the next few days, sup­pli­ers and con­trac­tors will also be able to track the move­ment of their in­voices on­line which will greatly im­prove our ef­fi­ciency in ser­vice de­liv­ery.

For many years, res­i­dents of Laikipia County and in par­tic­u­lar women have been com­plain­ing of be­ing sex­u­ally abused and mo­lested by of­fi­cers of the Bri­tish army. What is your gov­ern­ment do­ing to se­cure com­pen­sa­tion and child sup­port for those res­i­dents from the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment? Dan Mu­rugu, Nakuru

I am not aware of any in­ci­dents of ha­rass­ment. If you could give me spe­cific cases or de­tails I will cer­tainly take up the is­sue. Their pres­ence has a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact. That said, we are all sub­ject to the rule of law.

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