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County’s alarming poverty level

WESTERN
By - FRANCIS ONTOMWA | June 11th 2013

By FRANCIS ONTOMWA

Vihiga,Kenya:
A study has revealed that Vihiga County has a disturbing 62 per cent poverty index. And the survey shows only a paltry 12.7 per cent of the county’s population has secondary school education, and this, in addition to lack of water and sanitation, has stagnated development.

Speaking during the launch of the report yesterday, Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, however, stated that a raft of measures have been identified to deal effectively with the findings further exuding confidence of a turnaround.

“We have noted with great concern the statistics and certainly this sets a good precedent for us to start our work. We have come up with a raft of measures which we believe will address poverty as a priority in the area,” said Akaranga who was flanked by his deputy Caleb Amaswache.

unexploited resources

Others present included MPs Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), and Christopher Omulele (Luanda) among others.

The governor reiterated that his government would lay down a framework that would include cooperation with commercial banks to offer loans at reasonable interest rates to help various groups initiate money-making projects.

Mr Akaranga acknowledged that the county is endowed with unexploited resources saying his task would be to open up avenues that would encourage investors to tap revenue. “Vihiga County is well endowed with resources which sadly have not been well tapped, we want to take this very seriously to ensure we expose the county to investors,” stated Akaranga.

The report, prepared by experts from different sectors in the county and covering months between August and December last year, also notes shortage of public land that has made it almost impossible for the county administration to allocate space for key public utilities such as cemeteries, recreational places, bus parks, open-air markets among others.

“This is major let-down for the county and lack of space to put up public structures has made it difficult for us to move on. For instance there is dire need for us to find a location for a public cemetery right now,” observed Isaac Nyamweno, a researcher. Vihiga County urban population is approximately 32 per cent which is lower than the national figure (about 40 per cent).

Major urban centres lack industries such as manufacturing ones that would attract large populations explaining the statistics.

The only large-scale industry in the county is Mudete Tea Factory located in Sabatia constituency.


 

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