Lack of land and water have been cited as major hindrances to investment in Taita Taveta County.
Governor Andrew Mwadime said several foreigners have expressed their willingness to invest in the county, especially in health and mining sectors, but the lack of land has put them off.
He blamed these challenges on the previous administration he accused of failing to allocate land for public investment and having done little to enhance access to water.
"When the land was being adjudicated in the area, the government did not consider allocating land for investment. Instead, it dished out land to outsiders at the expense of residents," Mwadime said.
Mwadime lamented that huge chunks of land and mining fields have been allocated to private developers, denying the county land for investment and settlement of squatters.
“We are blaming the former county government and successive national governments for failing to allocate land for investment. Instead, they dished out land to private developers, denying residents an opportunity to access this very important resource,” the governor said.
Pharmaceutical and mining sectors
Mwadime said he has held talks with Canadian and Nigerian companies that are willing to partner with his administration to invest in the pharmaceutical and mining sectors.
Last week, the governor said he held talks with a delegation from Nigeria’s Yoruba King and agreed to partner and invest in the rich mining industry in the county.
Mwadime said he had also held talks with investors from Canada who want to put up a pharmaceutical company in the region to address the persistent shortage of drugs in public hospitals while creating employment.
“The county government has formulated new laws to make it easy for investors, including the Taita-Taveta County Investment and Development Corporation Act, 2022,” said the governor who spoke on Tuesday, May 9, in Mwatate town when be briefed he media on his development record since he was elected on August 9.
"The new laws are meant to provide a conducive environment for investment. However, the land of land has become a major challenge," said Mwadime.
He added: "There is goodwill and we are ready to receive investors in the various sector as we seek to grow our economy. We are partnering with foreign companies to put up a pharmaceutical plant and explore our rich mineral resources. We are now looking for land for the huge investments.”
Mwadime said the county is among 15 that have an investment company with strategic plans to guide its development agenda aligned with what the national government is doing.
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“The investment opportunities and benefits came as a result of the World War One commemorative event held in March this year that brought together the county administration and various investors,” said the governor.
Other challenges facing the county, according to Mwadime, include a shortage of drugs, poor own-source revenue collection and huge pending bills.