29 April 2014

Kenya: Governors Rent Delta House Offices

COUNTIES are spending millions of shillings to maintain offices in Nairobi. Sources say all the 47 county governments are servicing offices in upscale Westlands which act as liaison offices between the counties and the central government.

The governors have acquired at least two floors in the ultra modern Delta House where all the 47 county governments will move to as early as next month.

Governors Ken Lusaka (Bungoma) and Hussein Dado (Tana River) confirmed the acquisition of offices saying it was necessary in facilitating the workings between the counties and the national government.

Lusaka said the offices are important as they will improve inter-governmental engagement and facilitate governors and other officials of county governments whenever they are in the capital.

"Governors are always coming to Nairobi for meetings with donors and investors and it was decided that it will be important if every county acquired its own space," he said.

Space at Delta House costs US1.5 per square foot (about Sh129). One floor at Delta is 6500 sq ft. This translates to US$9,750 or Sh838,500. Sources said the Governors have rented two floors, which means they will be paying about Sh1.7 million per month, which translates to Sh20.2 million a year. Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo told the Star she was not aware of the development.

She promised to comment on the matter once she received a clarification from the council of governors. "I will write to the CEO of the Council to seek clarification. I will only comment on the matter once I get the response," she said.

The costs will rise once other factors like partitioning and furniture which can run into several millions are included. The decision to get the space was made by jointly by the Council of Governors. Unconfirmed reports indicated that the rent payable will be shared between the national and county governments.

One governor said the decision to rent the space and open offices was taken to save governors and members of their cabinets from the "indignity" of operating from hotels whenever they are in the city.

A governor, who did not want to be named, told the Star that some of their counties are in remote areas and, thus, less favoured for investors' visits. "My county is remote and there are no roads and if I sit and wait, investors may never come. It is me to facilitate and ensure we meet," he said.

Lusaka said the decision to rent out the space was necessary as the importance of Nairobi in the success of devolution cannot be discounted. "There is so much governors are doing in Nairobi and it will only be important that we have our own offices," he said.

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