Lake region governors to focus on road, maritime transport
They say this would improve connectivity between counties and boost business
Governors from 14 counties under the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have vowed to collaborate with the national government to improve key shared infrastructure for the benefit of 15 million residents.
At the end of a two-day summit in Kisii, LREB chiefs said they will focus on road network and maritime transport through Lake Victoria to improve connectivity between counties, which they hope will boost business.
The governors read the resolutions after the meeting that was attended by Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa and principal secretary Charles Sunkuli.
“We are keen on refurbishing the ports, landing bays, water hyacinth clearing, and dredging of Lake Victoria,” said LREB chairman Wycliffe Oparanya.
Mr Oparanya, who is also the Kakamega Governor, said there is a lot of interest from private sector players keen on investing in maritime transport in the region.
To actualise this dream, the county bosses promised to work with national government agencies including the Kenya National Highways Authority, Kenya Rural Roads Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority. In addition, the regional bloc will collaborate with the Kenya Maritime Authority, charged with water transportation safety, and Kenya Ports Authority, which runs facilities for docking.
The governors hope that improved maritime transport would ease movement of goods between counties north and south of the lake. Currently, the ferry services are irregular and their safety is not guaranteed.
Mr Oparanya led the county bosses including LREB deputy chairperson Dr Joyce Laboso who is also Bomet governor and their colleagues James Ongwae (Kisii), John Nyagarama (Nyamira), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Wilberforce Ottichilo (Vihiga) and Prof Anyang Nyongo to send a passionate appeal to ward representatives in the region to pass the LREB Bill pending before the assemblies.
They said the Bill would enable them to set up a regional bank, a flagship project, that would enable them to roll out big development projects in the member counties.
During the opening of the forum on Thursday, it was revealed that four counties were in the verge of passing the generic Bill after four others — Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii and Migori — ratified it. “In the next two weeks, we expect four county assemblies to pass the Bill as they had lagged behind in undertaking public participation meetings,” said Mr Ongwae.
Governors James Ongwae (Kisii), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), John Nyagarama (Nyamira) and Dr Joyce Laboso (Bomet) at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital during the just-concluded Lake Region Economic Bloc Summit meeting.