Lake Region Economic Bloc now a legal entity as key bill passed

Vihiga Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo (seated) signs the Lake Region Economic Bloc (lreb) bill into law. Looking on is Vihiga County Assembly Speaker Ms Housna Mudeiza (left). [Nathan Ochunge]

The county assembly has ratified the Lake Region Economic Bloc (Lreb) by a unanimous vote.

Speaker Housna Mudeizi said MCAs will continue to oversight Lreb projects that the government will engage in after passing the Lake Region Economic Bloc Bill into law.

The 2018 Act that established the economic bloc required six of the member counties to pass the Lreb Bill to make it a legal entity. Vihiga was the seventh.

The other counties that have signed the Lreb Bill into law are Kakamega, Busia, Migori, Nyamira, Kisii and Kisumu.

Those yet to ratify the economic bloc are Bomet, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kericho, Nandi, Siaya and Trans Nzoia.

Governor Wilber Ottichilo said the county would be be able to fully participate in the activities of Lreb after the Bill was passed.

Six counties

“The economic bloc is now a legal entity after the adoption of the Bill by at least six counties as required by the Act that established it. We can now transact business with any organisation to empower our people economically,” said Dr Ottichilo.

Ottichilo said the bloc was focusing on exploiting opportunities in the transport and infrastructure sectors, including maritime transport.

Industrialisation is also a key area of focus as counties in the region seek revival of the ailing sugar industry, improve tea, fish farming and milk processing within the first five years.

“The region has over 14 million people, which is a ready market for our produce. We will also make the bloc an attractive destination for local and foreign investors. Some development partners have  shown interest in partnering with Lreb counties,” said Ottichilo.

The bloc’s CEO Abala Wanga urged the remaining counties to adopt the Bill, saying economic blocs will play a key role in developing regions.