Four key projects in Kisumu County will collectively receive Sh1.7 billion to boost the county into becoming an economic hub in the region, President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced.
The refurbishment of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Complex will receive Sh100 million, the ongoing construction of an ultramodern market in Kisumu town will receive Sh350 million, the Jomo Kenyatta International Sports Centre Sh450 million and Sh800 million will be for the renovation of Kisumu Port.
Speaking yesterday in the lakeside city, Uhuru pledged to have the four projects completed as soon as possible. He also announced the extension of the meter-gauge railway from Nakuru to Kisumu, which, he said, will be complete by next year.
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“Next year I will be visiting this place again, and together with my brother Raila Odinga, I want us to ride the train,” he said. The President further noted that the revival of the railway line would be instrumental in improving the transport sector.
He directed the construction of the Mamboleo-Muhoroni road. “When coming here in February to launch this sports complex, I want to see a good road worth accessing an international sports facility,” he said.
“My administration is committed to plans to improve the national and domestic economy and we will do all we can to come up with sound business policies.”
The Uhuru Business Park was built on 23 acres donated by Kenya Railways to the county. More than 10,000 traders were displaced after several markets, including the popular Lwang’ni Beach fish market, were demolished to pave way for the park. Some have since settled at Dunga Beach.
Yesterday, while touring the ongoing construction work at the business park, the President said the market that is being put up there will be vital in improving trade in the region.
Uhuru is also hoping to revamp maritime trade by refurbishing the Kisumu Port. “We want to ensure that the port is working so that ships can dock. It will generate jobs for our youth,” said Uhuru.
Several leaders, including Cabinet secretaries James Macharia (Transport), Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and George Magoha (Education) also commended the projects.
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said were it not for the President’s intervention, the county would not have received funds to build the park.
At least 7,500 stalls and 2,500 jua kali sheds will be built to resettle those displaced in the city’s structural reorganisation.
Currently, Kisumu port is secured from members of the public. It has only two access points, manned by National Police Service officers and Kenya Navy security personnel.
Rehabilitation works there include the safeguarding of link roads to and from the port, installation of cargo-handling equipment and paving of the dockyard.
Rehabilitation of the dry dock, as well as an overhaul of rusted ramps for lowering boats into Lake Victoria, have been completed.
“My administration’s commitment to see the success of these projects remains resolute. Let people of Kisumu remain calm and support President Uhuru’s administration as it delivers,” said Nyong’o.
The national government, through the Kenya Railways, has also started reconstruction of the old meter-gauge railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu. Construction is set to end in the next eight months.
Already the government has approved Sh4.9 billion for the construction of Kisumu-Mamboleo-Chemelil-Muhoroni road after two decades of neglect.
[Kepher Otieno, Kevine Omollo and Harold Odhiambo]