Governors from coast region under the umbrella of Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) have called for the review of the Policy Framework for County Economic Blocs formulated by the national government to address critical issues.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya who is also the chair of JKP said the Policy Paper drafted by the Ministry of Devolution guiding counties in the establishment of economic blocs has failed to address fundamental and other important issues.
The Policy Framework by the national government seeks to bring harmonization on how county governments are going to be members of their regional blocs and their operations.
The Principal Secretary for Devolution Charles Sunkuli on Wednesday met with JKP governors and their deputies at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa during a public participation exercise on the Draft Policy.
Mr Sunkuli told the meeting that his ministry is working with other government agencies and development partners to facilitate the realization of the policy paper saying this was a constitutional requirement.
“We are working with the Council of Governors, the office of the Attorney General, Kenya Law Reform Commission, Intergovernmental Relations Committee, the National Treasury, the Commission for Revenue Allocation, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Interior and other development partners to successfully operationalize the draft policy,” he said.
However, Mvurya said the Ministry should borrow its concept from already established regional blocks like the JKP whose governance structure is stronger than that being proposed by the Ministry.
Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani brings together six counties and was established in 2014 and according to Mvurya it has made significant progress.
He noted that the policy drafted by the national government was weaker than that developed by JKP saying they will make appropriate recommendations through a memorandum to the Devolution Ministry.
‘We will write a memorandum to the Ministry to incorporate some changes in the Draft Policy before it is gazetted,’ added the Kwale governor.
On his part, Kilifi governor Amason Kingi said the Governance Structure in the Draft Policy has failed to recognize the roles of the Senators and Members of County Assembly.
Kingi said the governance structure in the policy paper is divided into three, the Governors’ Council, the Technical Committee and the Secretariat but has failed to involve Senators, MCAs and CECs.
He said at JKP, they borrowed the concept of the East African Community (EAC) and they drafted an accord that had to be ratified at all the six county assemblies of the coast before being signed by governors.
Kingi also opposed the idea of allowing counties to be members of more than one economic block saying this will result to unnecessary challenges and problems in future.
Kenya has about six economic blocs; the JKP for coast counties, 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 Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) and in eastern counties there is South Eastern Kenyan Economic Bloc whereas the in central region there is Mt Kenya and Aberdares Counties Economic Bloc.
By Mohamed Hassan