•The county chief has severally attributed his punctured development agenda to a pile of pending bills he inherited from the former regime.
Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has said his government will prioritise paying at least Sh150 million this financial year to cater for the pending bills that have derailed development.
During his state of the county address on Tuesday, Samboja said the county has been unable to settle a debt of over Sh217 million on time.
He said the county government had an accrued eligible pending bill of Sh652 million out of which Sh436 million was paid to various suppliers resulting in the unpaid balance of Sh217 million as of June last year.
“Despite making major strides in revenue collection, outstanding pending bills are still posing a challenge in the running of my administration,” Samboja said.
The governor said his administration has turned to adequate public participation in budget-making as an elaborate structural plan to improve efficiency, cut down on wastage and safeguard taxpayers' monies.
The county chief has severally attributed his punctured development agenda to a pile of pending bills he inherited from the previous regime.
He admitted that it has been difficult to navigate the challenge of paying county debts and initiating development at the same time.
Samboja said his administration was pursuing a partnership with the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) to put up a zone in Voi.
Meanwhile, Samboja pleaded with MCAs to quickly pass the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
He said passing the BBI bll will highly safeguard the county’s constituencies that are facing a merger for not meeting the required population quota.
“As a county, we stand to gain from the proposals contained in the bill including safeguarding our hard-earned constituencies and ensure that our county continues to enjoy the fruits of devolution,” he said.
The governor asked the ward reps to spearhead public participation exercises that will see the bill debated and approved.
“In the coming days, we shall be called upon to take a stand on the proposed constitutional reforms. I wish to take this opportunity to call upon the assembly to expedite the proposed public participation, debate and pass the BBI,” Samboja said.
Speaking to the Star in an interview, Deputy speaker Crispus Tondoo said the bill has undergone the first reading and committed to the justice and legal affairs committee.
He said a public participation exercise is ongoing and the bill will be passed by end of next week.
“It is all clear that members will unanimously pass the bill. It is the only way to safeguard our constituencies that are at risk of merger,” the Bomeni MCA said.
Tondoo said increased county allocation from 15 to 35 per cent will enhance service delivery and further strengthen devolution.
He said those opposing the constitutional amendments are insincere, pointing out that the changes are geared towards benefiting all Kenyans.
Further, Samboja said that his appointment as the chairman of the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani will strengthen the county’s bargaining power in accessing the blue economy and land-based economic opportunities; at regional, national and international level.
The county’s economy was slowly rising from the ruins occasioned by Coronavirus.
Samboja's administration is now focusing on fast-tracking the completion of all ongoing county projects.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris