The County government of Machakos has spelled out a series of measures geared towards attracting more investors and marketing the county as the ideal place to undertake business.
While chairing a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Machakos Governor, Dr. Alfred Mutua also said his government had approved several recommendations meant to streamline service delivery to the public and stimulate the local economy.
The cabinet also approved payment of all pending bills by directing the County Treasury to advice on the best way forward in the matter as ordered by the National Treasury.
“Specifically, the meeting approved the payment of all eligible pending bills and tasked the County Treasury to analyze the approved county budget and advise on any necessary adjustments needed to achieve this. This measure is not only in keeping to our fiscal responsibilities but is also a deliberate move to stimulate the economy by increasing money in the economic circle,” said Mutua in a press statement.
In her annual report for 2017/2018 financial year, Controller of Budget Agnes, Odhiambo had indicated that outstanding pending bills in the counties stood at Sh108.41 billion as at June 2018.
And while most of the counties paid some of the legible pending bills between June 2018 and February 15, 2019 Machakos, Mandera, Nyandarua, Uasin Gishu and Homa Bay are among those that failed to do so.
The county government also discussed and approved a raft of reforms targeting physical planning and land survey.
Among the reforms include injecting efficiency in approving of building plans, subdivision, and land related transactions.
This, according to the county boss will kick out rogue wheeler dealers and brokers who have been accused of encroaching and grabbing public property especially in Athi River.
“The main aim is to get rid of brokers and fraudsters who have in the past conspired with rogue government officers to defraud both the public and private land owners within Machakos,” emphasized the Governor.
Among institutions set to benefit from the cabinet’s deliberations include the Judiciary and the office of the Speaker of the Machakos County Assembly.
This is after the government approved a request to allocate additional land to the Judiciary in Athi River for the expansion of Mavoko Law Courts, as well land to construct the Speaker’s official residence.
And for efficient management of sand harvesting in the county, the cabinet received a report on how to package sand as a way of value addition for maximum returns to the communities and also for sustainable environmental management.
A raft of new administrative, policy and legal reforms to support the measures will be subjected to stakeholder consultations in January next year.
And to evaluate the extent of damage on key infrastructures due to the ongoing rains, the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Public Works was instructed to come up with an inventory of key roads which require emergency interventions.
On health, the cabinet noted the need to address existing gaps in the sector in terms of staffing and resources as one of the key pillars in Kenya’s Big Four Agenda as outlined by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
“Despite Machakos having employed the highest number of new health professionals since 2013, there still exists gaps caused especially due to construction of new facilities as well as upgrading of existing ones. Considering the limited internal resources, the Cabinet resolved to engage development partners to assist in bridging the gaps to ensure attainment of WHO health professional to population ratio,” noted the governor.
In May this year, Dr. Mutua promised to ease the way of doing business in a bid to woo both local and foreign investors into the county.
Speaking after hosting Scania East Africa Directors at his office led by the Regional MD for East Africa, Peter Holmstrom, Dr. Mutua said he was delighted by the company’s decision to set up a Sh. 1 billion sales and distribution center in the area.
He lauded the company’s move, saying it will not only boost the economy of the area but also help create employment to dozens of locals.
The Swedish automobile company was expected to break ground for the commencement of their operations before the beginning of next year.
Dr. Mutua has also promised to undo any bottlenecks and bureaucracies that have in the past scared away multi-million companies from pitching tents in the area.
Again in April this year, the county also witnessed the entry of another major business player into the area after Mars Wrigly Company opened a Sh. 7 billion confectionery factory in Athi River, in Mavoko Sub County.
During the colourful launch ,the governor who had been invited to preside over the groundbreaking ceremony singled out Machakos as one of the most ideal places to do business in the country as proven by its Sh.150 billion worth of investments.
He therefore urged both local and international investors to take advantage of the existing business opportunities in the county by setting up factories and production plants in the area citing Brava foods, Safaricom, Suda industrial Park, Signature Mall and Gateway as some of the multi -million business ventures currently operating in the area.
By Samuel Maina