Governors to discuss future of regional bloc

President Uhuru Kenyatta with governor James Ongwae /ANGWENYI GICHANA
President Uhuru Kenyatta with governor James Ongwae /ANGWENYI GICHANA

Fourteen governors will meet on Thursday and Friday over the future of the Lake Region Economic Bloc after 10 counties failed to ratify a Bill to enable formation of the bloc.

According to a letter by the chairman Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, top on the agenda will be status of the bloc and a report on the regional bank.

So far, only four counties out of 14 have signed the Bill. The counties are Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega and Migori. Six counties are required to sign the Bill to make the economic block operational.

Nyamira, Kericho, Bungoma, Bomet, Homa Bay, Nandi, Busia, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, and Vihiga are yet to pass the Bill which will allow the counties to release Sh200 million for the formation of a regional bank.

Failure by the counties to ratify the Bill is likely to affect operations of the bloc. The deadline for signing the Bill has expired.

“The meeting will review status on share capital contribution, signing of the Joint Venture Corporation Agreement, Deloitte East Africa report and OPEC financiers,” said a letter by Oparanya.

The joint venture is an agreement to undertake joint projects by the counties.

All governors, their deputies, MPs, and County Executive Committee members are expected to gather at Kisii Sports Club for the two day summit. The summit was to be held in December but was pushed to January.

LREB is a conglomeration of 14 counties from the Lake Victoria Region that have come together to leverage on their varied economies of scale by engaging in joint trade ventures so as to uplift the lives of over 14 million inhabitants.

On Monday, Kisii Governor James Ongwae said Kisii is ready to host the summit reiterating that he fully supports the formation of LREB.

“We see it as an opportunity for the 14 counties to expand their economies and improve the livelihoods of the 14 million people living within the bloc.

In a statement, Ongwae said: “I call upon residents of counties in the region to own the integration process and the summit is one way of sensitising the population on the need to make the LREB initiative a success.”

He added: “It is my conviction that the regional bloc presents alternatives that can augment the achievements we have made as individual counties and create an expansive market for our people.”