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Governors strike lucrative deals to finance projects in Nyanza

By Dalton Nyabundi | Published Sun, March 4th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 3rd 2018 at 21:18 GMT +3
Nyamira County Governor John Nyagarama

Amid grumbles that they had not done much in the first quarter of their tenure, Nyanza governors who survived election petitions have now set out to initiate development projects.

Save for Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti whose election was nullified by the court, his counterparts, Cornell Rasanga (Siaya), Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), John Nyangarama (Nyamira), James Ongwae (Kisii) and Okoth Obado (Migori) won petitions against them.

Mr Awiti however, remains in office after he filed an intention to appeal against the ruling.

Prof Nyong’o is serving his first term while the other governors are on the last leg of their two-term tenure.

In separate interviews with the Sunday Standard yesterday, the governors pledged to fulfill election pledges.

The county bosses have prioritised agriculture, healthcare and water projects and plan to increase budgetary allocations for the same.

Kisumu county Government has embarked on relocation of Kachok dumpsite, which has been an eyesore.

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Pay for the beneficiaries

Mr Rasanga, who rode to power on the back of promises to complete development projects said that with the petitions headache behind him he is now ready to work.

As part of efforts to make healthcare affordable, the Siaya governor is pushing to ensure the elderly and expectant women are under the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover.

The county will pay for the beneficiaries the minimum NHIF Sh500 premium.

Rasanga said he was already in talks with the World Food Programme and the Kenya Commercial Bank to facilitate commercialisation of sorghum farming in the county, to supply the Kenya Breweries Limited factory in Kisumu.

To boost food security the Siaya county Government has set aside Sh70 million to support irrigation in Uyoma, Rarieda and Alego Usonga sub-counties.

“We have realised that we can no longer rely on erratic rainfall and we are not going to let lack of water limit our agricultural potential, we want to pump money into irrigation so that we can achieve food security,” he said.

Kisii Governor Ongwae is lobbying senators to approve the proposal for the establishment of a sugar factory in the county.

The proposed Sh5 billion factory will also produce electricity to power local industries.

The governor is expected to commission construction of the Sh2 billion cancer screening, treatment and management centre to serve the region.

The centre will compliment the Kisii Level 6 hospital as a teaching and referral facility.

This will be the their biggest cancer centre in the country after Kenyatta and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospitals, although there are plans by the national Government to construct facilities in Kisumu and Naivasha.

Ongwae disclosed that the county Government received financial aid from the Arab Bank and the Saudi government towards construction of the cancer centre.

He said once complete the facility will ease the strain on referral hospitals.

“In my first term, I concentrated on making Kisii District Hospital a referral facility.

“Now my focus is on ensuring that all health facilities are up and running, fully equipped and staffed so that residents can access universal healthcare at any facility near them,” he pledged.

He said Sh415 million has been set aside for road construction and they county will also utilise the fuel levy to fund the project.

“Kisii is largely an agricultural town and we want to open up the road network to ensure the produce gets to the various markets.

“But because the roads are prone to destruction by rain, we want to elevate standards so that the farmers and traders are not affected,” he said.

Overhaul the sewer system

“There are also village roads which we started doing in the first term but did not finish, others are already damaged and in need of repair. We have set aside Sh360 million to see that contractors are on site and another Sh100 million in fuel levy.”

The governor also disclosed plans to overhaul the sewer system in Kisii after securing a deal with a German firm that will address water problem.

“Despite being blessed with abundant rainfall, we have not sufficiently retained the resource to ensure accessible supply, especially for domestic use.” He announced plans to sink boreholes and pump water to surrounding schools and homes.

Nyamira Governor Nyangarama plans to prioritise health, agriculture, water provision, conservation of water towers, waste management, electrification and the construction of a new county headquarters.

He wants to increase uptake of NHIF cover from the current 17 per cent of the population to 60 per cent. This, he said, would bolster the Linda Mama programme which seeks to ensure mothers deliver babies in health facilities.

The county Government has upgraded the Nyamira District Hospital to a referral facility.

“We want to go ahead and establish a 12-bed children’s ICU (intensive care unit) ward,” he said.

Nyangarama said he had opened talks with a Finnish waste-to energy company to help convert the 300 tonnes of waste produced everyday into electrical energy to light up the county from the current 49 per cent and add the rest to the national grid.

The county is also seeking to partner with Kenya Power to boost electrification of homes.

Nyangarama said Sh60 million grant secured from the World Bank would go towards extension services to farmers to spur commercial farming.

And Migori Governor Obado plans to complete a road that seeks to decongest Migori town, improve healthcare services, and agricultural production.

The county boss who is the Council of Governors’ agriculture committee chairman said plans were underway to establish a sweet potato factory in a bid to boost value addition of the produce.

The county Government also plans to set up a fish cooling plant in Muhuru Bay to eradicate wastage.

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