Activities to actualize the dream of setting up a Special Economic Zone in Kisumu County are in top gear following a two day visit by a special delegation from the World Bank and PWC India.
The team comprising of officers from the State Department of Industrialisation, IFC, which is the private arm of the World Bank and PWC India arrived in the County yesterday and this morning met with Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o and other relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the implementation of the proposed Miwani Special Economic Zone.
The County Government partnered with the World Bank to carry out a detailed feasibility assessment and market demand analytics for the site in Miwani and the region at large. The World Bank Group has since engaged PwC India to undertake pre-feasibility studies, market demand analytics and demand forecasts, sector prioritization and assessment of economic and commercial viability of three proposed SEZ in Kenya including Miwani, Mombasa and Lamu.
In his address to the team, the Governor provided a detailed update on the status of Kisumu Special Economic Zone Flagship project highlighting certain challenges that have since delayed the process including Government budgetary policies and acquisition of adequate land that has since been resolved following the County Government’s identification of 10,000 acres of land in Miwani, Muhoroni Sub – County.
He went ahead to highlight the on-going sector developments geared towards supporting the viability and growth of the Special Economic Zone including Energy where Kenya Transmissions Company (KETRACO) is currently putting up a 4000 kilovolt ring around the region that will help curb the numerous power challenges; efforts by both governments to realize the Koru-Soin Multipurpose dam under Water; Kisumu and the region’s capacity to provide manpower; connectivity provided by the good road networks, availability of an international airport and most importantly the Kisumu Port, a key gateway to the East African Community.
The Governor expressed his confidence on the feasibility study revealing easy access to market, a major concern to any investor adding that the zone sits at a vantage point starting with the Lake Region Economic Bloc to the East African Region and beyond. He therefore urged the investors to worry no more and instead embark on the implementation process through robust interactions and engagements that will help fast track the decisions and hasten the process as well.
The deliberations shall continue with more stakeholder consultations including investor meetings and surveys in Kenya, regionally and globally to assess investors and developer demand.
Sara Ochieng, the IFC Program Manager and the Bank’s Chief Advisor on SEZs and the team leader of the party said that they are extremely impressed by the site location and that this will turn out to be one of the best economic zones in the world. Other senior consultants included Mohammed Athar, a partner at PWC India and Isaac Otolo, a Director at PWC Kenya.
The County Directors and Chief Officers wrapped up their induction week today at the Royal City Gardens.
Speaking during the training, the county’s finance minister who was the guest of honor, Mr. George Okong’o, addressed the individual sector heads systematically outlining which projects needed immediate attention.
Echoing the finance Minister’s sentiments, Mr. James Goro from the Special Delivery Unit challenged the county officials to work on pending projects so that there are visible results and targets are met in the various sectors as he touched on performance contracts and appraisal.
The officials were taken through the importance of involving the public so as to be efficient and effective in running programs.
Among the departments that have targets and are expected to be met during the next six months are Water and Sanitation, Health, Environment, Education Finance, Agriculture, Roads and Tourism.
As a final note the Chief Officers and Directors were encouraged to work as a unit because all departments are interdependent.
By Stacy Chasimba
The 5th annual Lake Region Economic Bloc Summit kicked off yesterday in Siaya County with delegates from member counties converging at the Siaya KMTC Grounds to deliberate on issues geared towards fast tracking the implementation process of the association as lake region.
The deliberations starting with the Council of Leaders meeting with the Governors were largely dominated by talks on how the bloc can be used to revamp the region’s economic potential with key highlights being; the sugar sector reforms, revitalization of the cotton industry with top agenda being the revival of KICOMI, improved fish production and climate change as well as youth empowerment among others.
Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o while addressing the leaders was very categorical on what needs to be done to re-awaken the sugar sector which is, the implementation of the sugar sector reforms as recommended by the Sugar Sector Review Committee earlier set up by the President and him being a member.
The committee that was co-chaired by Kakamega Governor and LREB Chair Wycliffe Oparanya made several proposals to the government on how the sugar industry can succeed including ensuring that farmers become the key persons, putting into place fair farm gate prices for farmers produce and easy access to market.
This has been a challenge overtime resulting from unfair competition from the sugar barons that have flooded the market with cheap imports. Other radical recommendations included the return of Zoning, return of the Sugar Board and the Sugar Development Levy that will help in building requisite infrastructure for the industry and provision of necessary inputs.
The Governor also challenged the bloc to come together and constitute a technical team that will develop a good cotton policy to be implemented across the counties that will ensure a rapid response mechanism to deal with any challenges such as invasion by pests. He made it clear that the revival of KICOMI should be accompanied by a one stop system that brings all services together as a means of job creation for the bloc’s citizenry.
Other key concerns raised by other leaders included the development of a regional climate change policy, creation of factories for value addition for farmers produce like fruits and vegetables, and a change of attitude by members towards technical training.
Members were urged to encourage the youth to take up technical training to equip them with the necessary skills needed for the growing economies. The message was that the region has potential and the bloc should do all it can to empower members on their areas of specialty.
The talks continue today with the Governor’s Summit being a key area of focus and a media engagement forum.
Officials from the Chungcheongamdo Asan Office of Education from South Korea today paid Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili a courtesy call at his office.
The team, led by Ms. Oh Im Seok, are on an International Education Exchange Program in support of ECD centres in Kisumu.
Speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Governor, recognized the important role played by early childhood education in shaping learners’ future. Under this backdrop, the county department of education has, over time, made significant strides to enhance ECD development across the county, he announced.
Spearheaded by the education ministry, the County has so far distributed learning materials worth Ksh. 20 million to ECD centers countywide.
In attendance during the call were Education, ICT and HRD CEC M. Dr.John Obiero Ogone, County Secretary Godfrey Kigochi, among other officials from the county government and the Korean delegation.
The induction of the incoming chief officers and directors continues on the second day graced by the Ag speaker of county assembly Hon. Elisha Oraro flanked by members of the county assembly.
The speaker passed his congratulatory message to the new successful appointees for being entrusted with the job, urging the officers to consult as often as possible with the assembly.
“The issue of pending bills is a big issue. Give us realistic budgets. You’re the technocrats. Think outside the box& let us give service to our people”, the Speaker concluded.
Members of county assembly present also urged the new officers to work as a team with the focus on the Governor’s manifesto to achieve the county’s objective and that they should give solutions despite various challenges that the county is currently facing.
In his remarks, the chair of the budget committee, Hon. Steve Awiti, MCA Kolwa East implored the officers to work professionally according to the procurement laws and procedures to give people of Kisumu County the value for their money.
Majority leader Hon. Kenneth Onyango echoed the speaker on the need to enhance revenue collection, stating that “Revenue collection is for everyone, not just the finance department.”
The officials were tasked with the immediate implementation of the various Bills that the county government has passed which include; Kisumu county administrative bill, fish and aquaculture bill, transport bill, health bill, crop bill, trade amendment bill and Kisumu county emergency bill.
Other speakers included, Hon. Prisca Auma of Kaloleni/Shauri Moyo ward, Hon. Maureen Otiang’ of Chemelil Ward, Hon. Seth Ochieng’ Kanga of Market Milimani Ward, Hon. Vitalis Otura Kolwa Central, Hon. Rashid Miruka North Nyakach Ward, Hon. Pete B. Ouko, and Hon. Samson Ameso.
The County human resources directorate organized an induction and training program for the incoming chief officers and directors.
The five-day program was officially opened by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Mathew Owili who emphasized the importance of induction to the officers while congratulating them for new positions after a rigorous and competitive exercise.
On behalf of the Kisumu Governor, Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o the deputy governor welcomed the new team on board and called on the inductees to note that as a service-oriented entity, the county government-run on certain ethos, the key of which is zero tolerance to corruption.
The incoming chief officers form a central part of service delivery in line with the Governor’s manifesto.
The County officers present also urged the new officers to get down to work and to be ready to serve the residents of Kisumu diligently.
The induction program is facilitated by the Kenya School of Government to introduce and to integrate the new officers to the county government system.
The induction and training of the new officers was graced by County Secretary Godfrey Kigochi, County Ministers, Nerry Achar, Prof. Juddy Attyang’, Dr. Obiero Ogone, George Akong’o, Dickson Obungu, the City Manager, Ms. Dorice Ombara and the secretary to the Public Service Board Dr. Hesbon Hongo.
Kisumu political leadership have to day come together to express their support towards BBI a head of the planned Kisii meeting set for 10th January 2020.
While addressing members of the press, the leadership voiced their full support towards BBI , adding that the meeting is an important opportunity for the region to chart a way forward towards achieving a referendum.
The event brought members of the press, civil society and political leaders together in a joint communique read by Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o resolving the following;
1. To unreservedly support the handshake and the harmony that it has brought in the country.
2. To support the BBI fully and the meeting of 10th January 2020 and other subsequent meetings to be used to push the momentum for the BBI agenda countrywide and accept that amendments can be made as the technical team will determine arising from the stakeholders engagement.
3. To support the referendum as the only means of effecting the various recommendations touching on the constitution particularly the governance structure that addresses the ” winner take all phenomenon ” which is responsible for the ills afflicting this nation and inhibiting it’s developmental potential.
4. The time is of the essence for the referendum process, and it is therefore necessary to gazette the technical team as soon as possible in order to take up any suggestions the regional and other consultation levels that are planned.
5. That as a leadership, we shall focus our energy towards ensuring that people at grassroots are mobilised to actively participate in these BBI consultations.
The leaders also vowed to continue with the conversation to the people at the grassroots, in a meeting that will bring together 6 Counties in Nyanza including Siaya, Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira to give direction towards the mobilization of the agenda.
Governor Nyong’o emphasized that Nyanza region shares the same aspirations, trading and development partners ahus the reason to spearhead the BBI conversations.
The BBI is a resolve of H.E the President of the Republic Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and the Rt. Honorable Raila Amolo Odinga to spearhead and propel the conversation on BBI.
Leaders present included, Deputy Dr. Ochieng’ Owili, nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga, Hon. Olago Aluoch ( Kisumu West) , Hon. Aduma Owuor ( Nyakach) , Hon. James Nyikal ( Seme ), Hon. Elisha Oraro ( Speaker Kisumu County Assembly ) and members of the county assembly.
The county government has set aside sh65 million to assist disadvantaged bright students advance their studies.
A total of 350 pupils are set to benefit from the Governors scholarship program that will see 10 students per ward selected.
Speaking during the official commissioning ceremony of the Elimu scholarship program, Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili lauded the important role played by education in nation building.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Equity Bank and the World Bank,165 students were feted and awarded scholarships to join form one after posting exemplary results in last year’s examinations.
According to the Deputy Governor ,the county government was ready to join the national government and development partners to enhance education levels in the county.
Through the department of education, the county government has doubled bursary allocations in the wards to sh4 million. This will supplement education needs of disadvantaged students.
Joining the Deputy Governor were Assistant County Commissioner Madam Joan Chebet, George Onyinno Equity Bank Nyanza & Western Region General Manager, Governors Political Advisor Abballa Wanga, officials from the Education Ministry among other representatives at the Kisumu Polytechnic.
By Collins Owuor
As the rains continue to pound and cause havoc within the county, numbers of the affected persons is on the increase at the designated evacuation centers which calls for quick response on both food and nonfood items for the victims.
It is in the light of this, that the flood response coordinating committee comprising of county government team led by Ruth Odinga who is also the chairperson, development partners such as UNICEF, Care Kenya. World Vision, Red Cross, Makini Schools and Community well-wishers held a meeting to deliberate on how provide aid to the displaced persons.
With the growing population at the evacuation centers, assessment should be carried out to inform the needs of the people in the affected areas for accurate response.
Some of the foreseen immediate needs included holding medical camps, distribution of ready to eat food items, water treatment tabs, buckets for water treatment, mosquito nets and sanitation facilities.
Desegregation of the displaced persons at the evacuation centers is also key in meeting the different needs of people such as the lactating mothers, children under five, the old and persons with disabilities who are considered vulnerable.
Dredging of the river Nyando and Miriu is critical in reducing the overflow when rivers break their banks and construction of dykes is also key in flood prone areas to mitigate the occurrences of such emergencies.
The Ministry of Devolution was asked to dredge the rivers and construct the dykes during the official visit by the CS Eugine Wamalwa earlier this week.
The office of the County Commissioner has been tasked to beef up security in the night especially for the vulnerable young girls, mothers the and elderly women
The national government through Ministry of Devolution dispatched food items for distribution to affected areas.
Flood disaster has been common to Nyando and Muhoroni but this time round most parts of the county are affected including Nyakach, Kisumu East, Kisumu West, Kisumu Central and Seme.
Madam Ruth Odinga the in charge of County special programs thanked the development partners and the well –wishers from the business community for taking the initiative to support the noble cause. She called on them to put together a concerted effort towards meeting the needs of the affected persons.