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Marginalised counties push for more funding

By Wilfred Ayaga | Published Thu, September 13th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 12th 2018 at 23:48 GMT +3
FCDC Chairman Ali Roba (centre) admires bulls during Frontier Counties Development Conference at Kishaunet Showground in Pokot. Looking on are FCDC governors. [Peter Ochieng/Standard]

Eleven governors from the country's marginalised counties are meeting in Kapenguria, West Pokot County, in renewed efforts to push for a greater share of the national budget.

The leaders, under the umbrella of the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC), are drumming up support for development in a bid to transform the so-called forgotten regions.

Among the issues to be discussed during the two-day forum that started yesterday are exploitation of existing opportunities in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (Asals) and development of infrastructure.

Counties represented in the bloc are Lamu, Tana River, West Pokot, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, Samburu, Baringo, Mandera and Wajir.

During the forum, the governors will also be expected to make presentations on priority areas in their regions as they seek to mobilise resources for infrastructure development and other priority projects.

Spurring growth

They will also discuss the role of the Sh12 billion Equalisation Fund in spurring economic growth in maginalised regions.

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Speaking at the opening of the forum yesterday, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo reminded participants about Sessional Paper No 10 of 1965, which has largely been blamed for under-development in Asals.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba said recent discoveries of natural resources such as oil in marginalised counties had overturned the traditional narrative that the region was unproductive.

“There is hope where there was despair. The discovery of oil, coal, water, wind and solar power prove that these counties will be the new frontiers of development in Kenya,” said Mr Roba.

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti called for closer co-operation among development partners.

Other governors present were Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet).

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