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Isiolo County injects Sh1.1 billion for the revival of stalled multi-million projects

 The Sh545 million five-story modern market under construction in Isiolo County. The project is expected to be completed by December. 

Isiolo County is set to inject approximately Sh1.14 billion to revive three multi-million projects that have stalled over the years due to unavailability of funds and the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funds will go towards the completion of a Sh865 million export abattoir whose completion had stalled for the past 16 years, the new Sh550 million county headquarters offices and a Sh545 million five-story modern market.

Isiolo Agriculture and Livestock CEC Yusuf Mohammed explained that works on the abattoir were initiated by President Mwai Kibaki's regime in 2008 but shortage of funds saw the project stall before it was handed over to the county government shortly after the advent of devolution.

In 2022, he said, the World Bank allocated Sh451 million to kick-start the project while the Governor Abdi Guyo-led administration injected an additional Sh423 million to expand the facility into an  export abattoir that when completed will serve six neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia and South Sudan.

“The project is 96 percent complete with most of the internal works having being done. The facility is expected to be operational by June 2024. We are aiming to have completed the external works before then,” stated Mohammed.

The CEC further noted that the construction of the cold rooms and a centralized refrigeration system were complete.

“Once it is up and running we expect to slaughter 300 cattle, 150 camels and 1,200 goats and sheep every day. It will also help address the main issue for pastoralists which is having a ready market for their livestock.”

The facility is also expected to create direct employment of 400 people and approximately 20,000 people indirectly given that it is expected to serve the neighboring pastoralist counties.

The county government has also prioritized the completion of the Sh545 million modern market with the capacity to accommodate 1,500 traders who currently ply their trade along the highways.

Notably, the market works began in October 2018 and was expected to be concluded by 2022.  However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, delayed clearance by authorities such as the KRA, and late disbursements by the county treasury, it stalled for a period of one and a half years.

“Local traders operating along the highway are prone to accidents and this is what we are trying to eliminate by providing a safe operation space. Once completed the project will accommodate major traders from as far as Nakuru, Embu, Karatina and even Meru. It will also support bulk traders from neighboring counties such as mandera moyale and marsabit and Samburu counties,” Osman Halake, Isiolo Municipality manager.

Halake explained that the project was 70 percent complete with the works expected to be finalized by December 30, 2024. He revealed that the county government had already paid out Sh339 million towards the project and is set to clear the rest within the coming month.

“Currently traders are expected to pay Sh5,000 for a stall but by the time of completing the market, the rates could be adjusted downwards depending on the Finance Bill,” he added.

Then there is the Sh550 million county headquarters which are set to play host to the Governor’s office and the various administration offices.

According to Isiolo trade, tourism and cooperatives CEC Lawrence Mwongela, the project began in 2019 and was being undertaken in collaboration with the national government with the county government supposed to finance 30 percent of the project and 70 percent being done by the national government.

He however regretted that the construction of the county headquarters had stalled due to a delay in the disbursement of funds by the county government. A setback he said had seen the county forced to rent offices at Sh150 million a month.

“We are looking to have this project completed so the county can save on money because most departments have been forced to pay rent. This has impacted us in that our recurrent expenditure is very high to the extent that very little money is being left for development,” said Mwongela.

County Deputy Secretary Mohamed Bether disclosed that the project is 60 percent done and is expected to be completed by December 2024. He also explained that the county had already financed its 30 percent requirement which amounted to Sh175 million but the national government had only contributed approximately 174 million.

“The national government has only submitted Sh174 million bringing the total project financing to Sh350 million. We are now awaiting Sh240 million from the national government,” he said.

“Governor Guyo has also put in a request with the Senate so that the National government can hand over the project for it to be done by the county. We have been following it up with the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee and all indications are that it will be handed over by the beginning of next month.”

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