Kisumu, Kenya: Counties in Nyanza have been urged to purse joint development plans to end over-dependence on funding from the exchequer.
Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga said a common investment strategy would also help alleviate poverty, especially along the Lake Victoria basin where majority live below the dollar a day.
Anyanga said ongoing plans by the counties to form an investment bank was laudable, given that locals were missing out on massive business opportunities due to lack of capital.
"We have discussed this matter at length during our recent Luo Nyanza Parliamentary Group meetings and we believe the way to go if for the counties to pull up resources together so that they can engage in ventures that will turn around the region's economy," Anyanga said.
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The Nyatike MP said the counties should take advantage of provisions in the County Government Act that allows them to implement projects together while at the same time, pursuing investment opportunities.
"Even the region's political leadership is in agreement. We have consulted ODM leader Raila Odinga, who also believes our counties can do great things together," Anyanga told The Standard on the telephone from London yesterday.
Anyanga said Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya and Kisumu county governments led by governors Cyprian Awiti, Okoth Obado, Cornell Rasanga and Jack Ranguma should concentrate on adding value to local industries besides improving agriculture and building the capacities of local business communities.
"Let the counties improve roads and make good use of Lake Victoria as a shared resource. They should not be sleeping giants," he said.
However, the MP warned that local politicians should not take advantage of future joint ventures between the counties for political expediency, saying residents of some counties have suffered for years due to negative politics.
He said for the economy of the region to grow, the counties have to do more in terms of galvanizing resources towards poverty alleviation. In the 2015/16 budget, Kisumu county was allocated Sh5,4 billion, Migori Sh5,3 billion, Homa Bay Sh5,1 billion while Siaya got Sh5 billion.