8 North Rift counties roll out plans to revive regional bloc

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago. [Photo, Standard]

Eight North Rift governors and assembly speakers have kicked off the process of reviving the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb).

Governors from the eight counties that make up the bloc met in Eldoret on Thursday and proposed measures to jumpstart Noreb.

The Speakers were tasked with spearheading the ratification of legal instruments that would anchor the bloc in law.

Led by Uasin Gishu Speaker David Kiplagat, the assemblies pledged to help the governors raise adequate funds to run the economic bloc for the benefit of its six million people.

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Mr Kiplagat said success of Noreb is pegged on availability of adequate allocations from the National Treasury.

“Speakers under the Noreb have agreed they will table the Bill they have drafted to ensure the operations of the regional economic bloc are ratified without further delays,” said Noreb Chief Executive Officer Dominic Biwott.

Anchored in the law

The regional bloc chairperson and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago denied claims that it was dormant and irrelevant to some member counties.

“We might have been slow but we are very sure and organised. We should all appreciate that everything we do must be anchored in the law and this is why we are seeking the necessary legislation that can be an enabler to the realisation of collaborative development across all our counties,” Mr Mandago said.

The tourism and trading bloc brought together Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties and was touted to fast-track the region’s economic growth.

Harmonise their tariffs

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The Uasin Gishu governor said there was need to bring on board all elected leaders from the region for the bloc to be vibrant.

He also said that Noreb has proposed agricultural and infrastructural development projects in areas prone to banditry along the Kerio Valley belt.

“The agenda of the partnership includes resource mapping and coming up with trade policies that can boost the region’s economy.

“We are also mooting plans to establish joint projects along the Kerio Valley to end cattle rustling,” said Mandago.

Elgeyo Marakwet Govenor Alex Tolgos said he was happy that the national and the county governments are now reading from the same script.

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Mr Tolgos explained that member counties will harmonise their tariffs and come up with policies to facilitate implementation of joint projects.

Uasin Gishu Speaker David KiplagaNorth Rift Economic BlocNorth RiftNational Treasuryerio ValleyUasin GishuUasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago