Nakuru Traders To Get Modern Cold Storage Facility

Over 500 traders at the Free-Area Fresh Food Market in Nakuru have a reason to smile after the County government contracted a contractor to build a cold storage facility to spur trading and improve incomes.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Trade, Tourism, and Cooperatives Mr Stephen Muiruri said post-harvest losses will be a thing of the past, thanks to the project initiated by the devolved unit and co-financed by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

Mr Muiruri said the facility once complete will enable traders to keep their produce for long and therefore control prices.

He explained that for generations, agriculture has been a key source of income in Nakuru but decried that lack of cold storage facilities has bogged down the sector.

Speaking during handing over of the site to the contractor to the CECM indicated that Governor Susan Kihika’s administration is taking deliberate steps to make the agriculture sector lucrative and vibrant so as to serve as ‘a source of employment an
d improve livelihoods’.

‘Most of these traders cannot dictate the right price for their produce due to their inability to keep them. They now have a place to store fresh produce at no extra cost,’ added Mr Muiruri.

He noted that the cold room will be a profit booster as it will help traders keep their produce fresh for longer giving them ample time to search for markets. With the cold room, he said farmers will be able to increase the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by up to 28 days.

‘Now that the issue of storage is sorted out, they will have time to concentrate on looking for new markets and negotiate for better prices,’ stated the CECM.

The cold storage facility is expected to contribute to the reduction of food waste and enhance safety standards in food distribution in Nakuru and adjoining counties.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) estimates that around 37 percent of food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa is lost at various points along the value chain.

Muiruri indicated that f
armers who supply produce to traders at the market will now be able to diversify to new crops that have high value now that post-harvest losses have been addressed.

He said to reduce the economic costs of unsafe food, the county government had increased expenditure on food safety by investing in infrastructure development, laboratories and cold storage facilities to boost food safety and shelf life.

The cold storage facility will have 500 storage crates, an office, a setting table, weighing scale and a washing area.

These amenities are essential for food safety, and maintenance of product quality.

In addition, GAIN handed over 5 mobile trolleys for garbage collection. This move will enhance hygiene and sanitation within the market.

Given that the traders at the market deal with highly perishable produce and the area is relatively hot, for years, they suffered heavy post-harvest losses because they lacked cold room storage facilities.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kenyans Urged To Be Positive About Remittance Of Taxes

Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Alice Wahome, has asked Kenyans to support revenue collection measures that are being instituted by the government.

Ms Wahome has said it will be difficult for the country to implement the projects that it has outlined in the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) without resources. The CS argued that revenue allocation goes hand in hand with development and as such, Kenyans should support the government’s efforts of mobilizing resources and expanding its tax base.

‘There is a lot of noise about the Finance Bill. But if you have a plan that is speaking to expansion of roads, revival of the leather industry and a plan that is talking about increasing institutions. A plan that is talking about adding value, subsidizing fertilizer and improved healthcare, all these will require that we look at the broader resource mobilization,’ said the CS.

‘Therefore, when we talk about increasing the tax base and bringing more people within
the tax parameters, it means we are looking for enough resources to implement the agenda we have set together with the people at this particular time,’ added Ms Wahome.

Her sentiments were echoed by Gender and Affirmative Action Principal Secretary, Anne Wang’ombe who underscored the need for patriotism in the remittance of taxes. The PS said that the government is intending to finance the major projects through budgetary allocation and Public-Private-Partnership, but it will be majorly banking on Kenyans to pay their taxes.

‘The government gets money from revenue collection so we must support revenue collection. There will be a little bit of pain but there is no gain without pain so we must be very positive about revenue collection and even the taxes that the government will be collecting,’ said Ms Wang’ombe.

The duo was speaking at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology during the dissemination of the Fourth Medium Term Plan 2023-2024(MTP IV). The forum brought together county government officials, N
ational Government Administrative Officers and heads of departments from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Also in attendance were Correctional Services PS, Salome Muhia and her counterpart in the State Department for Energy, Alex Wachira. The forum was also attended by Nyeri Deputy Governor, Warui Kinaniri and Nyeri County Commissioner, Pius Murugu.

The objective of the forum was to sensitize stakeholders about the midterm term plan. In her remarks, CS Wahome noted that the stakeholders are expected to aid in the dissemination of the government’s plan at the grassroots level.

‘We have four years to go with this plan and therefore we are here to ensure that the people who will take it down understand where the government is coming from and what we need to do to make sure we succeed,’ she said.

The MTP IV is the last five-year medium term plan under the Kenya Vision 2030.The CS said that with its implementation, the country will now transition into the next long-term development blueprint. Ac
cording to Ms Wahome, the MTP is also aligned with the BETA which is geared towards the economic turnaround through inclusivity.

Already the State Department for planning has outlined Finance and Production, Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Social and Governance and, Public administration as the core sectors of focus. Under the medium term plan, National Treasury is projecting a 7.2 per cent growth in the Gross Domestic Product by the year 2027.

The treasury has projected that the country’s infrastructure sector will record a 5.9 per cent growth by 2027.Their projections also show the Social sector which covers health and social welfare, will record a 7 per cent growth in the next four years.

Environment and Natural Resources sector is predicted to increase from 8.1 per cent to 8.9 per cent while Governance and Public Administration is forecasted to grow to 5.9 per cent by the year 2027.

According to their projections, out of the five key sectors, the Finance and Production sector record the most signif
icant growth. The Treasury has projected that the subsector will grow from the current 7.3 per cent to 8.2 per cent by the year 2027.

The CS said that the government is keen on channeling more resources on local production of essential commodities as a way of curbing the country’s over reliance on imports and improving its food security. She noted that some of the critical sub sectors to be revived under the plan include leather, sisal and cotton while edible oil production, dairy, rice, blue economy, coffee and tea have been earmarked for revitalization.

‘We are looking at new areas such as bringing back the leather industry and making sure edible oils are now locally grown and manufactured. So much money is going outside in the importation and all these things speak to losses of jobs, foreign exchange problems because we are using the dollar to bring these things here,’ said Ms Wahome.

‘If we manufacture locally we will clear the issue of jobs, we will create wealth and we will be paid in our currency so
we don’t have to worry so much about the dollar exchange rate issues,’ she added.

Source: Kenya News Agency

IRA Revokes Closure Of Direct Line Assurance Company

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has revoked the closure of the Directline Assurance Company Limited in Nairobi by the Chairman of the Dr. Samuel K. Macharia through Royal Credit Limited.

IRA Commissioner of Insurance and Chief Executive Officer Godfrey Kiptum said the Authority has taken note of communication released by Dr. Samuel K. Macharia through Royal Credit Limited regarding operations of Directline Assurance Company Limited.

Kiptum termed the purported transfer of the assets of the Directline Assurance Company Limited to a third party as null and void.

‘The purported actions are null and devoid of any legal effect and as such the insurer continues in full operation as licensed and approved by the Authority,’ said Kiptum.

In a press statement sent to newsrooms, Kiptum said all policies issued by Directline Assurance Company Limited remain in full force and effect, and stressed that the insurer remains liable for any claims arising therefrom.

‘All policyholders of the insurer may continue
with their operations in accordance with their insurance contracts,’ stated the Commissioner.

He at the same time said that it is only the Authority that has the sole statutory mandate to approve, suspend and cancel the operations of any insurance company in Kenya, adding that the mandate cannot be usurped by any unauthorized party.

Kiptum said the Authority has placed the insurer under heightened surveillance and will take necessary steps in pursuant to the provisions of the Insurance Act, CAP 487 Laws of Kenya, to ensure sustainability of the insurer and protection of insurance policyholders’ interests.

Insurance Regulatory Authority is a State Corporation established under the Insurance Act, with the mandate to regulate, supervise and promote development of the insurance industry in the country by ensuring industry stability and market confidence.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Turkana Approves Climate Change Funds

The Turkana County Climate Change Fund Management Board (CCCFMB) has approved the expenditure of Sh 382 million to accelerate locally led climate change initiatives.

Chaired by Fr. Joseph Ekomwa, the board meeting followed Turkana’s legal framework for managing climate change.

Board members Ejore William Emoru and Eunice Mwajuma, along with members drawn from the county, attended the meeting.

The County representatives included Audan Leah Lokaala (County Executive for Climate Change), Joseph Ekalale (Chief Officer for Climate Change), George Emase (Climate Change Director), Benedict Mukoo Lochili (Disaster Management Director), and Kevin Ojiem (County Environment Officer).

Fr. Ekomwa stated that the approval was long overdue, as projects had already been identified and the compliance assessments were also satisfactory.

He expressed optimism that the funds, supported by the World Bank and the County Government under the Financing Locally Led Climate Change Action (FLLocCA) initiative, would be effectively
utilised.

Audan stressed the urgency of releasing the funds to empower communities to mitigate climate change impacts and enhance their resilience.

She noted that the general public, through the 30 Ward Climate Committees, had identified water provision, rangeland reseeding, and irrigation agriculture as priority areas.

The Chief Officer for Climate Change said the approval would enable phased disbursement of funds.

Ekalale emphasised that due diligence was followed in creating grievance response mechanisms and action plans.

This approval aligns with the county’s five-year Climate Change Action Plan (2023-2027) and Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai’s nine-point agenda.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Murang’a Records A One Billion Mark In Own Revenue Collection

Murang’a County has collected over Sh1 billion of own source revenue, during this financial year ending June 30.

The County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Finance, Prof. Kiarie Mwaura, while celebrating the milestone, said that as of Sunday, the county had for the first time surpassed the Sh1 billion mark in its own revenue collection.

‘We are celebrating as a county because for the first time we have been able to collect over Sh billion,’ Mwaura said, noting that the previous county government was collecting about Sh500 million.

The county executive attributed the remarkable progress in revenue collection to the automation of revenue collection, where residents pay for all services electronically, thus sealing off all loopholes that previously led to loss of revenue.

He stated that in the 2022-2023 financial year, the county had collected about Sh700 million in revenue, an amount that has almost doubled this financial year, and yet the county has not increased the charges for any services since 201
8.

‘We have managed to collect this much without necessarily increasing any taxes that could overburden the taxpayers,’ he noted.

The Department of Health is leading in revenue collection, having collected Sh360 million in 2023-2024, up from Sh120 million in the previous financial year.

Prof. Mwaura also noted that there has been a shift in the culture of county employees, and they are now working more diligently.

‘The officers on the ground are now more vigilant and work with integrity because they can see how the money they collect is being used by Governor Irungu Kang’ata for the benefit of all residents of the county,’ he said.

The county executive explained that the money collected buys medicine and employs medics for all the health facilities in the county, funds the Smart City programme that is tarmacking urban areas and improving drainage, and is also used for the subsidy for farmers under the Inua Mkulima programme.

The money also funds porridge for 42000 children in the Early Childhood Develop
ment Education (ECDE) centres Uji programme, the free healthcare for the vulnerable known as Kang’ata Care, and is also used for bursaries.

Prof. Mwaura commended all those involved in the revenue collection chain, including the sub-county revenue officers and parking attendants, for their stellar performance.

He stated that the county intends to continue improving revenue collection and sets the target for its own source of revenue for the 2024-2025 financial year at Sh1.5 billion.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Nyanza Investment Conference To Unlock Business Potential

Preparations for the inaugural Nyanza International Investment Conference are in top gear, with the organisers confident of securing pacts to unlock the region’s potential.

The conference, slated for June 28-29, targets to showcase investment opportunities in the six counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, and Nyamira with a view to attracting investors from around the world.

Organised by the Nyanza Professionals, the conference aims at securing public private partnerships (PPPs) between investors and the county governments in the region to spur economic growth in the area.

Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo said the conference to be held in Kisumu has the full backing of the government, with President Dr. William Ruto scheduled to officially open and make a key note address.

Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) and Principal Secretaries (PSs) from the various dockets where opportunities for investments have been identified, he said, will also particip
ate in the conference.

Speaking in Kisumu during a breakfast meeting for the event, Owalo lauded the Nyanza professionals for coming up with the initiative, saying it will go a long way in fast-tracking development in the area.

‘Development is all inclusive. It is not a prerogative of the national or county government. You have so many contacts out there which you need to leverage to support the development of this region,’ he said.

The government, he said, will continue to create an enabling environment for the business community and investors to tap into the region’s huge potential.

He pointed out the blue economy, which he said has a lot of potential, with the government already constructing a Sh3 billion aquaculture centre in Kisumu besides modernising fish landing sites along the lake to support the fishing community.

The Kenya Kwanza administration, he said, was focused on the completion of all stalled road projects in the area to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

Nyanza Pro
fessionals Caucus Chairman Japh Olende said the team has developed a catalogue profiling top investment opportunities and projects for each of the six counties.

The projects, he said, cut across all the sectors, including, health, agriculture, tourism, mining, the blue economy, water and irrigation, infrastructure, and information and communication technology (ICT).

Olende, who signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) on hosting the event, urged local investors and the business community to register for the two-day conference in large numbers to make it a success.

He said that besides the panel discussions, there will also be exhibitions to showcase various projects and innovations.

KNCCI National Director Ken Onditi said the Chamber will rally its members to attend the conference and actively engage in the discourse.

The conference, he said, will be an opportunity for the business community to network and take up opportunities targeting a wide
r market.

‘We have had two investment conferences, one in Kisumu and another in Kakamega. However, this one is unique because it captures a wider market with four counties,’ he said.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Alarm Over Low Uptake Of Credit

Principal Secretary of the State Department for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Susan Mangeni, has decried the low uptake of credit facilities across the country.

Speaking during the dissemination of the Fourth Medium-Term Plan in Busia town on Friday, Mangeni said that the uptake of devolved credit funds was extremely low in Busia County.

‘The Youth Fund has been around for almost 15 years, but if you look at the money which has been disbursed in Busia alone, it is less than Sh100 million,’ she said, adding that a total of Sh15 billion has been disbursed across the country.

Mangeni added that the Uwezo Fund, which has also been in place for around nine years, reflects dismally in Busia, with only Sh90 million disbursed.

She further said that the Hustler fund that has been implemented for the past one and a half years has seen Sh120 million disbursed in Teso South, Sh110 million to Teso North, Sh150 million to Matayos, Sh100 million to Butula, Sh100 million in Funyula, Sh70 million to Nambal
e, and Sh60 million to Bunyala Sub-counties.

‘The repayment rate is, however, good, with Teso South standing at 73 per cent, Teso North at 73 per cent, Matayos at 78 per cent, Funyula at 73 per cent, Nambale at 76 per cent, Butula at 73 per cent and Budalangi at 77 per cent,’ she said.

Mangeni stated that there are about 10,000 Kenyans who borrow at least Sh50,000 daily, and the government plans to ensure that they have access to more funds without providing title deeds because they have a good credit score.

‘We have to rally the residents of Busia to apply for these credit facilities,’ she told the Government Administration officers, adding that the move will help in eradicating poverty and ensuring equitable development across the County.

Mangeni thanked the County government for clearing the Busia-Korinda road, adding that investors will have an easy way of dualling the road to the One Stop Border Post facility.

The Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Youth Affairs, and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba, assured th
e residents that the government is committed to fulfilling all its campaign promises.

Namwamba added that the government had embarked on the construction of the Port Victoria Coastguard facility with a view to enhancing security along Lake Victoria and reducing harassment of Kenyan fishermen by the Ugandan authorities.

‘We will continue to remind people of what the government is doing at the grassroots level and push for more resources,’ he said.

He at the same time reminded government officers to be ambassadors of the Hustler Fund, explaining that it will save the local residents from exploitation by predatory lenders.

Besides, the CS also said that his Ministry has begun training coaches, referees, and technical people under a programme for Busia coaches and referees.

‘We have already given them certificates, and we want more people to come forward and be trained in this programme so that they can be agents of unleashing the sporting talent of our young people,’ Namwamba said.

Namwamba further said th
at his Ministry is keen on nurturing sports among the youth through the Talanta Hela programme.

He stated that the Ministry is targeting to establish three sports academies and an athletics training centre in Busia County.

Source: Kenya News Agency