Kisii: Economic block alive and kicking, says governors

From left, Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama, Kisii Governor James Ongwae, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga Deputy Governor Patrick Saisi, Kakamega Deputy Governor Philip Kutima and Kisumu Deputy Govenor Mathwe Owili addressing the press at Kisii sports club during the lake region Economic block Summit. [Sammy Omingo/Standard]
Governors from the Lake Region Economic Bloc have maintained the outfit is still strong despite challenges.

The 14 governors who are currently in Kisii for a two-day summit, said they were all committed to ratifying crucial bills essential for the bloc to work.

Top of the agenda is a bill to enable the formation of a commercial bank.

Speaking yesterday during the first day of the summit, Kisii Governor James Ongwae said they only have to wait for two counties to consult with their assemblies for the regional bank to be established.

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“There is need for our assemblies to own this initiative and be free to consult with their respective executive arms on matters they believe need to be examined in order to come up with legislation that will create the bank,” said Mr Ongwae.

Ongwae said the bloc had already come up with a policy to guide how members are going to contribute resources for it to achieve its goals.

He said member counties have shown great enthusiasm for the policy.

Pass bills

Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati said the region will have a population of 20 million in a few years, a situation that requires economic stability.

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“Our regional bank has to take off without delay. County assemblies must be willing and ready to pass the bill. Our regional flagship projects are already taking shape,” said Mr Wangamati.

He added that county governments through their respective assemblies should prepare supplementary budgets and set aside resources for the establishment of the bank.

Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama said his administration was late in ratifying the bill to establish a bank due to a number of challenges.

 “We are ratifying the bill soon,” said Mr Nyagarama.

Four Counties: Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega and Migori have already passed the Regional Bloc Bill.

It is anticipated that a number of counties will follow suit immediately assemblies resume sittings early next month.

Kisii County Assembly Speaker David Kombo said assemblies were the major obstacles to the passage of the bill.

“We need to look at the bigger picture of the bloc. This is not an individual project but a matter that will benefit more than 14 million people,” Mr Kobo said.

Each of the 14 counties is supposed to contribute Sh200 million for the bank project.

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Lake Region Economic BlocKisii Governor James OngwaeBungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati