Lake re­gion gov­er­nors to fo­cus on road, mar­itime trans­port

They say this would im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween coun­ties and boost busi­ness

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - COUNTY - BY RUTH MBULA

rm­[email protected]­tion­ neny­[email protected]

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.

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