Uhuru backs blocs to solve regional problems

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the official opening of the Lake Region Economic Bloc. PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta during the official opening of the Lake Region Economic Bloc. PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has supported the formation of county regional blocs to tackle common problems. He yesterday said counties can take advantage of economics of scale to address problems including insecurity.

Uhuru spoke when he opened the inaugural investment conference of the Lake Region Economic Bloc in Bomet town. The bloc brings together 14 counties in Lake Victoria region. Deputy President William Ruto was present.

“I assure you of my administration’s support and ask that you work closely in achieving the Kenyan dream,” Uhuru said.

“I look forward to hearing from you; from the North Rift Economic Bloc; from the Frontier Counties Development Council; from the South East Kenya Economic Bloc; from the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani; and from the Mt Kenya and Aberdare Economic Bloc. Our unity is our strength.” Uhuru commended LREB for coming up with a blueprint for flagship projects which include the establishment of a regional commercial bank, use of ICT and creation of a Lake Region Ring Road to improve road infrastructure.

Other projects include the establishment of a Lake Region tourism circuit, specialist hospitals in each member county and an agricultural commodities exchange.

Uhuru said the government will support the performance of regional blocs. He said national government regional development authorities will be streamlined to fit into the new economic dynamics of the country while supporting regional economic blocs.

Uhuru said the government will not allow anyone to politicise the management of water resources. “Water is the single most important natural resource we have. Our lives literally depend on its availability. We cannot therefore afford to play negative and divisive politics with this resource,” the President said.

The management of water resources will be guided by the Water Master Plan, Uhuru said. He urged stakeholders to consult each other when problems arise. Ruto said the formation of LREB was a step in the right direction. He called on counties to support the Big Four agenda.

The DP cited Kisii county as one of the areas that can benefit from affordable housing, adding the availability of cheap houses will stop land fragmentation.

LREB chairman and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the regional bloc is not political.

Uhuru had earlier opened a new tuition block for Bomet University College which is part of a Sh1.3 billion project to enable the institution to become a fully fledged university.