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County legacy projects suffer after budget cuts

By John Shilitsa | March 11th 2020


Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and county Sports and Culture minister Robert Makhanu inspect Bukhungu Stadium during the launch of Kakamega Half Marathon on May 30, 2019. [File, Standard]

The Kakamega County Assembly has slashed budgetary allocations for some flagship projects initiated by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

The funds slashed in the 2019/2020 supplementary budget the MCAs passed recently were allocated to other projects across the county departments.

Some key projects affected by the reallocation of funds include upgrade of Bukhungu Stadium, Early Childhood Development Education centres, as well as roads and infrastructure projects.

Initially, Sh700 million had been set aside for phase two of the construction of Bukhungu Stadium. However, the MCAs have reduced the budget by Sh100 million.

The move could slow down plans to have the 25,000-seater facility complete by 2022. Oparanya’s administration had earlier estimated the phase two works would cost Sh3 billion.

Once complete, the stadium will feature modern conference facilities, indoor gymnasiums, media centre, recreational park, swimming pool, warm-up pitches, banks and shops, among others.

Sports minister Robert Makhanu had said they had staggered allocations to the project due to financial constraints, but assured residents that the quality of work will not be compromised.

Phase one was completed in December 2017, the year Bukhungu hosted Cecafa Senior Challenge following approval by Football Kenya Federation.

MCAs took away Sh30 million from roads and infrastructure, which will now go into protection of water springs with each one of the 60 wards expected to receive Sh500,000 for the initiative.

Access to clean drinking water has been a challenge where most natural springs have been drying up, especially during dry spells.

Under education, Sh52 million earmarked for procurement of furniture for ECDE centres will now be used to upgrade the existing centres, which the MCAs claimed lacked classrooms and other physical facilities.

The MCAs also demanded that the county treasury should be allocating at least Sh15 million out of its Sh100 million to boost the county shelter improvement programme at Sh9 million and development of the county policy framework for Children, Youth and Gender and a county boda boda programme at Sh4.6 million and Sh2 million, respectively.

Community health volunteers (CHVs), who went without pay in the 2018/2019 fiscal year are a happy lot after the assembly allocated them Sh40 million. The money will be used to pay stipends to at least 2,735 CHVs.

Budget and Appropriations committee chairman Willis Opuka said the reallocation would benefit key sectors for the good of residents.

The county assembly will conduct public hearings on the Kakamega County Fiscal Strategy Paper for the Financial Year 2020 today ahead of the March 15 deadline.

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