Migori town aerial view. The town cannot expand because investors have shield away due to high cost of land. Some public land have also been grabbed living little space for expansion.[PIC BY COLLINS ODUOR/STANDARD]

Migori, Kenya: Migori town’s growth prospects are being threatened by lack of space to expand. A report tabled recently by the county land adhoc committee revealed that the town does not have enough space for constructing infrastructure and industrial facilities.

According to the report, Migori town is bordered by hills, making it costly to put up new infrastructure like road networks. Despite being the county headquarters, Migori town still has long way to go in its growth as an urban centre.

Private land

Most of the land within the town belongs to private owners who may not be ready to sell to either the county or national government. Landowners who often resort to selling their parcels at high prices have seen many investors shy away from investing in Migori town.

Christopher Awuondo, a retired civil servant and an expert in urban management, argues that it will take a longer time for Migori town to attain the status of a modern urban centre.

“Investors are shying away from the town, therefore we shall not have taxes increase within the county...,” says Awuondo.

Despite much investment in the hotel industry that has changed the face of the town in the past five years, experts say little is likely to change as their economic performance to a large extent, depends on the level of income of the town dwellers.

“We have visitors who come to the town for different reasons. Currently, our visitors are mainly county government officers who may come for exchange programmes. We also have other officials seeking tenders and other things from us. However, we have no investment that would create business for foreigners to bring adequate revenue for our hotels.

Another tragedy is that people are over-investing in the hotel sector and don’t diversify to help the town grow,” Awuondo notes.

Mainstay

Initially, when the report was presented to the Governor Okoth Obado, he decried rampant grabbing of public land by individuals and also blamed individual landowners for “selfishly” demanding high prices for their parcels of land.

Migori County solely relies on agriculture and fishing as its chief sources of revenue. The majority of residents are middle-income earners.

Areas that the committee suggested for establishment of urban centres within the county are Piny Oyie Centre, Bondo Nyironge, Sori and Sirare town because of adequate space.

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