The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Traders Want Counties to Speed Up Business

Traders within counties in the North Rift have complained of low bussiness this year as counties failed to roll out most planned projects thus withholding cash flow in most sectors.

"The counties are withholding a lot of money which would have helped to spur economic performance if projects lined up would have been started off," said the chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eldoret branch Charles Mose.

Mose said the Christmas and New Year festivities have also been low key in the region because of lack of money among many Kenyans and increased commodity prices.

"Compared to other years, this time fewer people could afford to travel to their rural homes for the festivities because of lack of cash," said Mose yesterday.

The chamber official is however optimistic that 2014 would be a better year because may of the public projects to be funded by the counties will kick off. "Many more people will get jobs, there will be so much activity in the construction industry among others sectors," he said. Most of the governors in the North Rift have planned to roll out key development projects in the new year.

The counties have already received funding from the treasury but most of them are yet to carry out any development."We have done much of the ground work and we will soon be rolling out most of our activities," Uasin Gishu governor Jakson Mandago said. He has given priority to infrastracture and his county administration will use Sh1.2 billion on roads in the region.

In Nandi county, Senator Stephen Sang said the governors should roll out development programmes so that the public can feel that the county governments are working to create jobs and through vibrant economic activities.

"They need to move with speed like is the case in Machakos and implement projects on the ground," he said.

None of the counties in the North Rift including Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot have so far held investment conferences to meet stakeholders and showcase the oppportunities they have.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos has however partnered with private investors to support projects in the agriculture sector. He has rolled out a projects to revive pyrethrum farming in Kerio Valley among other activities. "We are moving on well and we will be soon be rolling out many more projects in the period ahead," said Tolgos on telephone.

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba is in the process of hiring staff in the wards to help his administration implement key projects in the region.

Most of the counties are running budgets between Sh3 billion and Sh6 billion and most of them plan to raise much of the money from internal resources with the balance expected to come from the national government.

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