The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) Chair Wycliffe Oparanya has once again raised the red flag over delay by some counties to pay Sh200 million for its bank project.
LREB plans to buy an existing bank targeted to cost Sh2.8 billion, but some Counties are yet to pay the whole sum as was agreed by the 14 member counties.
Yesterday, Oparanya urged the governors from the counties that forms the bloc, with 14 million people to make good their promise to pay the agreed money in time.
''I am asking my colleagues to honour their pledges so that we can fast-track the LREB activities, which are not limited to the proposed bank project, ‘said Oparanya.
He wondered why some governors were slow to pay the money even after admitting to commit funds to the ambitious and viable Sh2.8 billion LREB bank project.
Oparanya said they planned to buy majority equity stakes of an existing bank and each of the 14 counties was to contribute Sh200 million towards the noble initiative.
Some county assemblies have agreed to ratify Monetary Bills allowing allocation of the money toward the project, but others have not yet fully consented to the idea.
Oparanya said the plan was to have the bank operational in October this year, but there are fears this may not be possible due to lack of funds from the counties.
Although, in some counties the delay was attributed to differences between the Executive and county assemblies, Oparanya asked leaders to see goodness of the bank
So far, Oparanya said the World Bank has promised to come in and support LREB activities if it sets up bloc's bank to finance and run its calendar activities.
Yet only Kakamega and Kisumu County Assemblies have ratified the whole sum for the project while others were yet to endorse plans to allocate funds toward the LREB bank
Addressing the press in Kisumu, the LREB Chairman disclosed that Counties were to factor in the money in their 2018/19 financial year so that they effect the project
Already, LREB Chief Executive Officer Mr Abala Wanga said in as much as they were slow, they have managed to collect about Sh800 million.
Some Counties have paid half, others are yet to pay something.
Wanga disclosed that their recent check from the special depository account for the project at the central bank found Some Sh800 million already deposited by Counties.
''This is good news for us because we expect by end of September to have raised atleast Sh1 billion for the bank project,'' said Wanga.
But he explained that some of the County Assemblies had accepted to give the money in two tranches, with Sh100 million in first round and balance in second tranche.
The Counties include, Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya Counties, where MCAs were reluctant to okay the disbursements in one off.
Homa Bay MCAs shot down the allocation of Sh100 million factored in this year’s budget to fund the setting up of the bank. They agreed to pay in installments instead.
Sources confided to the Standard that some MCAs fear LREB projects could eat into their ward development cash, and that is why they want it given in two installments.
Oparanya declared LREB which has already rolled out its development blue print intended to spur the bloc’s economic growth is reeling on the path to success.
Currently, LREB has many ambitious capital-intensive projects in health, ICT, fishing, sugar agriculture and in environmental conservation due to be implemented as a bloc
Abala asked the governors that forms the bloc to speed up their commitments so that they can run their calendar activities smoothly.
He disclosed that all bloc governors are headed to Nandi on the September 24 for the Third Bloc's summit, where they are expected to updates on LREB project's progress
''We expect the governors to brief the bloc's leadership on the progress on this day,'' reaffirmed Oparanya.
LREB plans to launch the bank in October during its inaugural investments conferences to be held in Bomet.
The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) consists of the 14 counties around Lake Victoria and its environs namely Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia.
Others are Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Kisii, Nyamira, Bomet, Nandi, Kisumu and Kericho.
The governors include Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Prof Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu) and Stephen Sang (Nandi).
Others are Okoth Obado, (Migori), Cornell Rasanga, (Siaya), James Ongwae, (Kisii), Joyce Laboso, (Bomet), Sospter Ojaamong (Busia), Cyprian Awiti, (Homabay), John Nyangarama, (Nyamira).