Bungoma MCAs reject bid to join Lake Region economic block

Bungoma County Assembly offices.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Bungoma members of the county assembly have shot down a bill seeking the county to join the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB).

The LREB was formed in 2015 by the region's governors and comprises of Bomet, Bungoma, Busia Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga counties.

The MCAs rejected the bill that sought to make Bungoma county contribute 200 million shillings to the kitty as other member counties.

Speaking during debate on Wednesday, Lwandanyi ward rep Tonny Barasa said that it will not make economic sense to channel such monies to the economic block when Bungoma as a county was straining to provide basic amenities.

“We cannot channel Sh200 yearly to construct the LREB headquarters in Kisumu when Bungoma is straining to provide basic economic infrastructure,” said Mr Barasa .

Ndivisi ward rep Martin Wanyonyi Pepela said it not a priority for the county to join the block.

 “As it stands now, the county has so many problems to address including the coronavirus pandemic and joining such a block is of no hurry ,”he said .

So far, the bloc has pooled Sh1.6 billion of the required Sh2.6 billion to build a regional bank and each of the member counties is required to contribute Sh200 million. So far 10 counties have made their contribution partly.

There has been concern over delay to start the bank since 2015 when the regional bloc was formed.

The block intends to start a bank which its members can borrow at cheaper rates.

The initial plan was to buy a majority stake in an existing bank and open the proposed regional bank by 2018 but this was shelved following delay by some counties to remit contributions the

The county assemblies were also expected to come up with relevant bills to safeguard the bank.

The move is a blow to Bungoma county boss Wycliffe Wangamati who has been very vocal in championing for the establishment bank.

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