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State-funded growth projects in Nyanza are on the right track, says lawmaker.

The national government projects in the Nyanza region are on course and leaders are doing all they can to ensure they are completed, a lawmaker has said.

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo dismissed claims that leaders from the region have not been pushing for development. He cautioned against divisive politics, blaming it for slow growth and the ethnic hatred and bloodshed witnessed in the past. Koyoo urged leaders and residents to focus on development.

'Our residents should shun unhealthy politics and those thriving on cheap propaganda,' he said.

The lawmaker spoke during a funds drive at Mutwala Girls Secondary School, Muhoroni, on Friday. Sh1.4 million was raised for the construction of a laboratory.

Koyoo said some projects have been completed and those fond of "hot air" should have no room in Nyanza. He said the region supports the war on corruption and the handshake exchanged by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila.

Koyoo said the region has reaped big from the peace and unity efforts championed by the two former political adversaries. He cited the completed Kisumu-Kakamega highway. The construction of Songhor-Tamu-Muhoroni road in is on course.

Koyoo praised Uhuru for his efforts to build roads and revive collapsed industries.

The 14km road that links Kisumu, Nandi and Kericho counties is expected to cost Sh2.8 billion. Koyoo said the government will allocate money for the tarmacking of the road. The project will be done in phases, with works set to begin next month. The road passes through an area where farmers have perennially grappled with a transport crisis. It is expected to boost food security, trade and livelihoods.

The Sh3 billion facelift of Kisumu Port has also taken shape as the government seeks to restore the once vibrant East African hub to its former glory. The renovation is meant to allow bigger vessels to dock in Kisumu to enhance trade with neighbouring countries.

The port will be commissioned in August by presidents Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC.

On Friday, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i toured the facility and said it will create more employment and business opportunities. The government has released Sh500 million and the remaining Sh2.5 billion will be provided soon.

Sources told the Star the President ordered that the 1,000-tonne and 91-metre-long MV Uhuru cargo boat be repaired so it is ready by August 15.

The Lake Victoria cargo ferry has been grounded for years. Residents are optimistic that once it starts operations, more jobs will be created.

The Sh1.9 billion oil jetty has been completed and will start operations. Petroleum CS John Munyes said the facility is expected to evacuate 8.8 million litres of fuel daily through Lake Victoria to reduce the pressure on the roads.

Other projects Koyoo named include Kabunde Airstrip, where Sh128 million was allocated to pay off the landowner to create room for expansion.

He said a tender has been awarded for the construction of Muhoroni-Mamboleo road, which is a key road to Kisumu, Nandi and neighbouring counties.

'Money has been allocated to build the road and we expect works to begin in September,' Koyoo said.

'We are on the right track as more projects are in the pipeline that will turn around the economy of Nyanza.'

The government has also allocated Sh4 billion to the blue economy.

Kisumu also boasts of the Sh4.5 billion Lake Basin Development Authority mall complete with a high-end hotel. Koyoo also cited the Ahero-Isebania and Oyugis-Rangwe roads.

On the sugar sector, the government had released more than Sh2.7 billion to clear the debts that were owed by public firms to cane farmers. Nyanza is the home of Sony, Miwani, Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar factories. It also has private mills such as Sukari Industries Limited.

The state-owned companies are mired in financial crises and still use old machines that have been blamed for low productivity.

The government has been keen on reviving the ailing sugar sector. The President has received a report from a taskforce that looked into the crises. It has recommended the next course of action.

Last year, Uhuru commissioned the construction of the Ahero Interchange that will ease transport from Kisumu to Kisii.

According to projections by the government, about 100,000 jobs will be created after the Sh1.5 billion East Africa Breweries Limited plant in Kisumu is completed.

Through the implementation of a 'West for West' strategy in the local sourcing of sorghum, the region will produce the bulk of raw materials. Currently, East Africa Breweries Ltd is working with sorghum farmers from Migori, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya, and Busia. The plant will take up raw materials from more than 15,000 smallholders.

The plant is already producing Senator Keg using locally sourced sorghum.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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