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February 22, 2019

Economic bloc framework has left critical issues - JKP

Devolution Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi at Pride Inn Hotel. /JOHN CHESOLI
Devolution Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi at Pride Inn Hotel. /JOHN CHESOLI

The governors of the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) have called for a review of the policy framework for County Economic Bloc, saying it does not address several critical issues.

The national government, through the Ministry of Devolution, has drafted a policy paper which will be used by counties in establishment of economic blocs.

The policy frameworks seeks to harmonise how counties are going to be members of their regional blocs and making them operational.

On Wednesday, Devolution Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli met with JKP governors and their deputies at Pride Inn Hotel, Mombasa, during a public participation exercise on the draft policy.

“The ministry, as envisaged in the Constitution and directed by the President, is working with other government agencies and development partners to facilitate the realization of this policy,” Sunkuli said.

He said they are working with the Council of Governors, the office of the Attorney General, Kenya Law Reforms Commission, Intergovernmental Relations Committee, the National Treasury, the Commission of Revenue Allocation, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Interior and other development partners.

However, Kilifi governor Amason Kingi and his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya said the draft policy has not addressed many critical issues.

Mvurya, who is the chairperson of the JKP, said the ministry should borrow its concept from already established regional blocks like the JKP, whose journey started in 2014.

“In JKP we have made considerable steps, therefore the ministry can borrow a lot from us. We feel that policy being developed by the ministry is weaker than what we developed at JKP. From what we have read in this policy, the JKP governance structure is richer that what is being proposed by the national government,” Mvurya said.

He said they will write a memorandum to the Ministry of Devolution to incorporate some changes in the draft policy before it is gazetted.

He said the governance structure in the draft policy has failed to recognize the roles of the senators and MCAs.“In the policy, we have the governance structure which is divided into three; the Governors’ Council, the Technical Committee and the Secretariat. However, questions arise on where we involve the senators, MCAs, the technical committee and executives,” the legislator said.

Kenya has about six economic blocs; JKP in the Coast, North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) for the North Rift region and Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) for North Eastern region.

In the western region, there is the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB), South Eastern Kenyan Economic Bloc for eastern counties and Mt Kenya and Aberdares Counties Economic Bloc in Central.

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