President Uhuru Kenyatta admires artifacts when he officially opened the inaugural investment conference of the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) being held in Bomet town on Monday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta  has backed the formation of county regional blocs to tackle issues common to counties that neighbour each other.   President Kenyatta said the regional economic blocs can be a vehicle for taking advantage of economics of scale and solving problems such as insecurity.

Uhuru spoke when he officially opened the inaugural investment conference of the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) being held in Bomet town on Monday. The bloc brings together 14 counties in the Lake Victoria region.

“I assure you of my Administration’s support and ask that you work closely in achieving the Kenyan dream,” said the President.   “Indeed, 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,” he added.

He said the theme of the conference “Shared Resources for Prosperity” captures the national intent, spelt out in the words of Kenya’s National Anthem ‘Tuungane mikono pamoja kazini’.   The President commended  LREB for coming up with a blueprint that outlines commendable flagship projects.

The region’s flagship projects include the establishment of a regional commercial bank; the deployment of Information and Communication Technology to improve service delivery; the creation of a Lake Region Ring Road to improve the road infrastructure; enhancement of tourism activities through the establishment of a Lake Region tourism circuit; improvement of healthcare by establishment of specialist hospitals in each of the member counties; and the establishment of an agricultural commodities exchange.

“The thinking behind the establishment of the economic bloc and the packaging of the issues faced by the citizens in the member counties through the “Lake Region Economic Blueprint” is commendable and deserves support,” said President Uhuru who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto.

The President said the Government will support the performance of regional blocs and county integration efforts by formulating supporting legal frameworks.

He further said that national government regional development authorities will be streamlined so that they can fit into the new economic dynamics of the country while supporting regional economic blocs.

At the same time, President Uhuru said the Government will not allow anyone to politicise the management of Kenya’s water resources, saying that water will always be managed for the benefit of all Kenyans.

“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.   He said the management of water resources shall be guided by the water master plan but called on all stakeholders involved in the execution of the various components to adopt the consultative approach to address any issues that may arise.

On his part, Ruto said the formation of the regional economic bloc was a step in the right direction.   He called on counties to embrace the Jubilee Government’s Big Four Agenda to address regional challenges.

The DP cited Kisii County as one of the areas that can immensely benefit from affordable housing pillar because the availability of cheap houses will stop the continued land fragmentation.   The chairman of LREB, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, pointed out that the regional bloc is non-political.   President Uhuru Kenyatta had earlier officially opened a new tuition block for Bomet University College which is part of a Ksh 1.3 billion project to enable the institution to become a fully fledged university.   Besides the tuition block, which has 23 lecture halls, the project also includes two hostels, a multi-purpose hall and a library.

President Uhuru laid the foundation stone for the new tuition complex last year and the quick completion of the project shows the Government’s commitment  to turn the institution into a fully-fledged university in the near future.

The university college, a constituent of Moi University, got its own Council earlier in the year, gaining semi-autonomous status as it gears to become a fully-fledged university.   President Uhuru said the institution, which was initially dogged by political controversy, has brought a boom to the economy of Bomet County and will benefit the whole nation.

“This is progress for Kenya. It is not the children of Bomet alone who will study in this university but children from all over Kenya,” said the President.

President Uhuru started his visit to the county at Sotik, where he commissioned a modern KCC milk processing plant.

The milk plant, revamped at a cost of Ksh 200 million, has a daily operating capacity of 100,000 litres up from a capacity of 30,000 it could handle previously.

The modernisation of the Sotik KCC milk processing plant is part of the Government’s wider programme to revamp the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries and the dairy sector in general.

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