By James Omoro
Homa Bay, Kenya: Homa Bay County Government has proposed Sh2.5 million for the construction of a lavish gym to be used by ward representatives.
The gym is to be built in the County Assembly and equipped using the taxpayers’ money as per the 2013-2014 financial year, if approved by the house.
Just like his Kisumu counterpart, the Governor, Cyprian Awiti has proposed the purchase of 10 Toyota Prados at a cost of Sh70 million.
In the governor’s proposed budget is passed by the County Assembly, Sh20 million will be spent in upgrading of playing fields in all the 40 wards.
However, the allocation in the proposed budget has attracted criticism from some of the area residents.
A number of youths opposed the gym allocation, saying it was not a priority for the county government which is at the initial stage.
Chairman of Homa Bay town Giant Trader’s union Jackson Nyambega said Homa Bay County was still faced with numerous economic challenges which needed to be addressed first.
Nyambega said residents were still living below the poverty line hence the issue of economic prosperity should have been prioritized.
“We are still living in fear because the area residents are not sure of obtaining infrastructural services such as water supply, electricity regularly. The money should have been channeled to provision of a basic service,” Nyambega said.
Mr Milton Orwe appealed to the Government to reallocate the money to another activity that would benefit residents.
“I think the gyms is a lost priority in the budget because there are hotels in the area can construct it form for those who need the service so that they can enhance revenue for the county Government,” Mr Orwe commented.
He suggested that the Sh2.5m could be used to enhance public participation in matters concerning governance in the area.
“Homa Bay County is so wide which means everybody cannot attend all functions taking place at the county headquarters. The money should be spent in disseminating information at the sub location or location level to enhance public participation,” Orwe continued.
Speaker of Homa Bay Bungel la Wananchi Walter Opiyo told the county government to curb food shortage afflicting most of the area residents.
Opiyo said a good number of the residents cannot afford the required meals in a day, hence there was need to transfer the money to an activity which could enhance income of the area residents.
The budget was read to the public by Chairman of Budget and Appropriation Committee in Homa Bay County Assembly Samwel Okumu.