Over 800 contractors in Elgeyo Marakwet county will have to secure registration with the Kenya National chamber of commerce and Industry KNCCI, Iten branch.
HE. Governor Eng Alex Tolgos EGH announced today that no contractor will be allowed to do business without the registration.
"We shall make it a requirement for all the contractors that no one will be paid until they are registered with KNCCI ," said Tolgos.
Addressing the business community at Sitet Hotel in Iten Town on Friday during the official launch of KNCCI, Elgeyo Marakwet chapter, Governor Tolgos said the agency was going to be instrumental in providing necessary information about contractors who do commendable jobs and those who deserve to be blacklisted.
The governor said KNCCI was also going to provide regulation in the industry that has suffered poor management.
Those who do not also pay tax as well as defaulters frustrating financial institutions will be tamed, said the county boss.
"We want all of you to get together and form a serious network whose objective is to empower everyone in doing business," said Tolgos at the ceremony held at Sitet hotel and presided over by Dr. Susan Koech, the Principal Secretary PS State department of East African Community EAC.
"We are glad to have officially launched this initiative in our county today. KNCCI is an important agency that brings together the business community with a view to enhancing business growth," said Tolgos
The agency is a valuable tool for any small business owner and it should be fully embraced by everyone, said the governor.
He said some of the benefits members get include capacity building services on the best business practices that give them desirable returns alongside getting access to credit facilities.
KNCCI will also streamline businesses in the county headquarters Iten Town which has recently acquired a municipality status, added Tolgos
As a way of promoting the growth of the entity, Tolgos said his government had supported the officials by allocating them office space to operate in the meantime before they secure theirs.
Dr. Koech said there were several business opportunities in Elgeyo Marakwet especially in the Agricultutre, Tourism and Sports sectors.
Key officials present at the meeting included Eldoret Town businessman and a former athlete Moses Kiptanui, businesswoman Veronicah Suter, the agency Chief Executive Dr. Ronald Zochin and Chairperson Mr John Chemagut.
H.E Governor Eng. Alex Tolgos EGH attended a consultative meeting today in Iten regarding the planned establishment of SH63 billion Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo Marakwet county.
Key stakeholders Kerio Valley Development Authority KVDA and Kenya National Land Commission NLC were in the county to brief the local leadership on the status of the implementation process.
According to the implementing agency, the resettlement process for families who will be affected is on course and land to resettle them has already been found.
NLC Chairman Mohamed Swazuri, KVDA MD David Kimosop and officials of the company awarded the tender CMC Itinera JV , Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono alongside County Assembly Speaker Kiplagat Sabulei, County Commissioner Dr Ahmed Omar and representatives of the households targeted for displacement were in attendance.
Addressing the meeting held at Elgon Valley Hotel, Governor Tolgos asked the agencies to ensure the local community was adequately informed about the project implementation process.
" In areas where people don't have land ownership documents, they should be assured of compensation because that's their biggest worry," said Tolgos.
The Governor said majority of land owners in the area do not have tittle deeds and the situation could pose a challenge to the process if it was not addressed.
" Infact citizen engagement meetings such as this should be held on the ground especially at the project site instead of hotels in Town," said the Governor.
Mr Swazuri however assured the county chief that every land owner with or without tittle deed will be compensated provided they proved to be the real owners through their respective sub-location assistant chiefs.
Mr Kimosop said the official ground breaking of the project will commence in June this year.
The resettlement proces will cost the government about Sh.5.8 billion, Kimosop said adding that it will be implemented in phases starting those living at the exact location where the facility will be established.
The Elgeyo Marakwet County government is pushing for more farmers in cotton-growing areas in the Kerio Valley to venture into growing the crop, in a fresh bid to increase its production and enhance diversification.
Deputy Governor Wisely Rotich said the county in collaboration with Eldoret based textile miller Rivatex will be engaging farmers through cooperatives in the County to encourage them grow the crop following identification of a ready market.
Cotton farming in the region had been abandoned due to market uncertainties forcing farmers to shift to more lucrative ventures like horticulture.
According to Mr Rotich, in the arrangement, cotton farmers will be provided with certified seeds, pesticides and also training.
Rivatex will also provide market for the cotton which will be a reprieve to the farmers who abandoned the crop due to poor prices.
Ali Kiplagat a farmer from Chegilet in Keiyo North Sub County said he stopped growing the crop when prices drooped to a low of Sh10 a kilo.
“I used to grow cotton but stopped when the prices dropped. We used to take our produce to Salawa ginnery in Baringo but they never paid us,” said Mr Kiplagat who added that he was ready to venture in its production again if he is assured of ready market.
Rivatex manufactures different textile products from cotton and cotton blend fibres. The Moi University owned cotton miller’s Managing Director Prof Thomas Kipkurgat lauded the partnership adding that the company will partner with Elgeyo Marakwet County to increase supply of raw materials for maximum operations.
“We are currently producing an average of 10,000 bales against a capacity of 70,000 annually. We are tapping Elgeyo Marakwet which has the potential to produce more cotton,” said Prof Kipkurgat,
He said:” In about two weeks, we will be signing a memorandum of understanding
Farmers from Soy South, Soy North, Tambach and Emsoo Wards will be targeted in the program. Other Wards are Endo, Sambirir and Arror,”
Mr Rotich however said Cotton growing do well in Kerio Valley but farmers abandoned growing it in the recent past due to lack of market and persistent pest and diseases attack.
The Deputy Governor said: “This will now change because farmers will be supplied with pesticides and seeds which are of higher yield production and disease resistant.”
According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives cotton production has remained below the national demand due to unstable international prices and high cost of production.
Currently, the country produces an average of 25,000 bales against a demand of 200,000 bales, with the deficit covered through imports from neighbouring countries of Uganda and Tanzania and from the Far East.
Elgeyo Marakwet County has disbursed medical drugs worth Sh52 million.
This is a relief to the county residents as some of the health facilities had been hit by drug shortage owing to delay of delivery by the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) since August.
Speaking during a flagging off ceremony of the consignment at the county headquarters, Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich blamed the national drugs supplies agency for delay in releasing the drugs despite the county having no pending bills. He said: "We urge KEMSA to be releasing the drugs on time because it's delay affects service delivery.We need drugs in our health facilities every day.I hope things will improve going forward. We care for our people and one sure way of justying this is to give them the best health care."
He said the consignment would have been delivered in August and as a result, the delay saw many health centres go without drugs.The drugs will last until March next year, he added.
Health and Public Sanitation CEC member Kiprono Chepkok said the county is focusing on the prevention of communicable diseases by carrying out regular screening which helps prevent spreading of diseases. He said his department will focus on enhanced prevention through regular medical camps across the county to sensitize the residence on the importance of maintaining a clean bill.
"All health facilities will be with drugs starting today. I urge everyone not feeling well to visit any nearby health facility because the drugs are already there. For those from snake bite prone areas like the Kerio Valley, there is enough anti venom drugs," said Chepkok.
The Community expected to be affected by the establishment of Sh.28 Billion Kimwarer -Talaal multi-purpose dam in Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet county has demanded full disclosure of the relevant information prior to the project implementation.
Speaking during a public meeting attended by Kerio Valley Development Authority KVDA top management officials Jackson Kiptanui (chairman) and David Kimosop (CEO), the community demanded to be furnished with land compensation, relocation arrangements, employment and Corporate investment initiatives.
The meeting held at Kewapmwen village, along the edges of the project site on Thursday was also attended by officials from the Italian company awarded the tender to build the Mega Dam and county government officials.
"We want to register our displeasure today as the people whose settlements will be affected by this project. We have never been contacted before yet KVDA claims to have conducted over 60 citizen engagement meetings about this project. We have seen KVDA officials and their agents criss-crosing our farms doing survey without our knowledge," said a resident Ms Helen Ruto.
The concerned residents said the discussions surrounding the establishment of the Dam in an area like Kimwarer where it is prone to landslides evoked memories of the Solai Patel Dam tragedy in Nakuru county which burst claiming lives of 48 people.
Another resident Paul Kandie said the available KVDA's sketch map drawing of the project had sidelined them in supply of piped water and electricity connectivity.
"In as much as you might assume we are uneducated villagers, beware we went to school during our time and we can still interpret the map. We have noticed serious concerns in the sketch map," said the resident.
Abraham Barsosio, the County government minister for Environment who represented Governor Alex Tolgos alluded to the meeting how KVDA sidelined key stakeholders in the project implementation.
" I want to tell you point blank that you have kept us on the dark yet we are the leaders on the ground. The same way the local community lack information is the same way the county government has no clue about the process yet Wananchi look up to us for reference,"Barsosio told the KVDA authorities.
This has resulted into unwarranted speculation and propaganda, said Barsosio adding that KVDA should clear the air about purpoted claims that the government had set aside Sh.5.8 billion to compensate households who will be displaced by Arror multi-purpose dam in Marakwet West while those in Kimwarer -Talaal in Keiyo south will only get Sh 1.9 billion.
" I am not only representing H.E Governor Tolgos here but I am also a resident and therefore, I am speaking as local who will be directly affected. These people don't have tittle deeds because the area was classified as lease land unlike other places where people have tittle deeds," said Barsosio.
If KVDA had engaged the county government and other relevant stakeholders, such questions could have been sorted instead of being raised in public gatherings, said the CEC.
Responding to the grievances, Mr Kiptanui admitted that it was unfortunate that KVDA failed to bring on board the host county government.
"From now henceforth, we shall ensure that all of you will be meaningfully engaged and we shall notify both the office of the Governor and the County Assembly about our activities," said Kiptanui.
The former Keiyo South MP said all the multi-purpose dams KVDA has built in kenya were upto standard and approved by government engineers unlike the privately Solai Dam, adding that the community should shelve any fears related to the project establishment.
About the contentious KVDA's sketch map that had irked the locals, Mr. kiptanui defended it saying it was just a draft and not final document.
The agency chairman said the Kimwarer-Talaal hydro-power and irrigation project, once implemented, will go a long way in uplifting the development of the region because of the irrigation component that will result into massive food production downstream.
Every household will have electricity and the roads in the area will be tarmacked, said Kiptanui.
He said tarmacking of 50 Kilometers road section in the area will be done as a Corporate social investment.
Soy South MCA Jonah Tanui said despite the public lecture, the community in Kimwarer was receptive and hospitable and therefore the agents of KVDA touring the area do not have to be seeking police escorts.
"We have seen your officials always being accompanied by armed policemen whenever they are touring the project site. This shouldn't be the case. If they have been attacked elsewhere like we heard a mzungu sustaining a panga cut somewhere, we want to assure you that we won't be hostile, we only demand that you treat us fairly," said the MCA.
The Sh.28 billion Kimwarer -Talaal project undertaken by an Italian firm CMC dii Ravena Cooperativa Muratory, is a sister project of another Sh.35 billion Arror hydro-power and irrigation project in Marakwet West. Both projects cost a whooping Sh.63 billion.
Officials of the firm Mr. Antonio Dicumente and Luca Moutanari, the engineering supervisor and Project manager respectively said they were on the site to do survey, and design works starting with the highland and the downstream.
Mr Kimosop said it would take the county government of Elgeyo Marakwet upto 60 years to realise such a magnitude of money and therefore urged the Kimwarer community to embrace the project.
The CEO tactfully avoided answering the questions directed to him and instead said he would expand list of already formed community representatives to accommodate the complaining groups.
The meeting was also attended by MCAs Philip Kipruto (Metkei), Elisha Kiplagat (Kabiemit) , Moreen Masit and Lornah Tanui (nominated) and Keiyo South Assistant County Commissioner George Onyango