Western Kenya bloc bank to start operations in October

From left: Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Luanda MP Chris Omulele at a past event. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has said a bank to serve 14 counties in Western region will start operations in October.

Mr Oparanya, who is the chairman of the Lake Region Economic Bloc, said members had raised Sh2.8 billion initial capital for the investment bank.

“We are going to have an inaugural investment conference in October this year in Bomet County. During the investment conference we will officially launch the bank to commence operations,” Oparanya said yesterday.

Speaking during an inspection tour of development projects, the governor said each of the member counties had contributed Sh200 million towards establishing the bank, adding they had opted to buy an existing financial institution instead of having to start from scratch.

SEE ALSO :Oparanya to quit regional post

The bloc members are Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga.

The governor said once the bank began operations, the bloc would establish an insurance firm to support it.

“Our people are unable to venture into business because they don’t have capital. The bank will give them loans at subsidised interest rates aimed at revamping the economies of the member counties.”

Sugarcane farming

According to Oparanya, the bloc is committed to utilising the bank to revive the tea sector as well as sugarcane and fish farming.

SEE ALSO :Oparanya to remain chair of bloc

“We are now consuming fish imported from China and we cannot allow this to happen under our watch. We are exporting money to China instead of using the money to grow our local economy,” he said.

The governor also blamed Members of Parliament for the poor state of Mumias, Nzoia, Chemilil and Sony sugar companies, which are on the verge of collapse for lack of cane for crushing and operating capital.

"The MPs are a letdown in this country. Instead of bringing to book culprits involved in the importation of sugar into the country, they defended them. The bloc is looking for alternative ways of solving the problem as a way to enrich our people."

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Lake Region Economic Blocwestern regionbank