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Senator terms Lake region bank a misplaced priority

BUSINESS
By | Nov 13th 2018 | 2 min read
By | November 13th 2018
BUSINESS
Kisumu Senator Fred Outa (PHOTO: Standard)

KISUMU, KENYA: Regional bank, an anchor project of the 14-member counties making the Lake Regional Bloc (L-REB) continues to face opposition from area leaders.

The latest to wade into the debate is Kisumu Senator Fred Outa who has termed the project a misplaced priority.

Outa, who spoke on a local vernacular radio station, said having a bank is not an emergency; hence L-REB governors ought to invest in projects which create wealth before investing in a bank.

“We need to come up with a bank knowing very well how we will create wealth to be kept in the bank. Currently most factories in the region have collapsed, and all we needed to focus on is bringing investors to help our people create wealth,” he said.

Outa’s sentiments come barely a month after his counterpart Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi) expressed reservations about the idea of the regional bank.

Other leaders who have questioned the idea are MPs; Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Tom Odege (Nyatike) who claimed that the governors were deliberately ignoring other leaders in the region in the bloc's activities.

Counties within the larger Nyanza, Western and parts of Rift Valley have been working on the regional bank as its pilot project. Each of the counties are expected to contribute Sh200 million each towards the project.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who chairs the summit has been traversing the region, wooing members of county assembly to support the idea through passing a bill which allows counties to commit their contributions.

To date, only Kisumu, Kakamega and Kisii counties have ratified the LREB Bill 2018. The bloc needs the approval of at least six of the counties to get legal statute.

In Nandi, a section of MCAs were said to have expressed their reservations over the idea, which they claimed had no clear basis.

The launch of the bank has twice been hampered after half of the counties failed to pass the bill.

Outa joined the dissenting voices, saying there were no proper mechanisms to protect the monies contributed by the counties, a situation he said may expose the monies to swindling.

“We do not want to be told later that the monies contributed by counties were used ‘for buying tea’. There are even no mechanisms to safeguard the monies and have it multiply like in the case of fixed accounts,” he said.

He urged the governors to spend the money collected for the bank on other development projects which will empower the people.

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