Taita-Taveta County has signed into law the County Investment and Development Corporation Act, a move that will usher in a new era of development in the resource-rich region with local and foreign investors adopting a legal framework for engaging the county government.
Governor Andrew Mwadime terms the Investment and Development Corporation Act as the elusive magic bullet needed to unlock the latent massive potential in the county. This will be actualized through working in close collaboration with investors who have in the past years kept off the region due to absence of structures to support partnerships.
The governor added that his administration had adopted an open-door policy for investors who will get unqualified support from his administration.
To boost this approach, the governor has opened an investment unit that will be located next to his official office. The investment office’s main role will entail conducting due diligence on potential investors, mapping, identifying, engaging and drafting Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with investors and partners in various sectors.
The office, the governor adds, will be manned by professionals and will be insulated against political interference that might repel would-be investors.
“We must get investors to spur development in this county. The investment law formally recognizes investors who can now come and invest in the county with full knowledge that their activities and investment are protected by law,” said the governor.
Since he assumed office as the third governor of Taita-Taveta County, Governor Mwadime is keen on shaping his legacy that will be defined by strategic engagement with investors to support the county government in project implementation and development.
While addressing Members of County Assembly (MCAs) last week during the official opening of the county assembly, the governor pledged to woo investors as a means of creating employment for thousands of unemployed youth. This would also alleviate the high poverty levels in the region.
The speaker of the County Assembly Mr. Wisdom Mwamburi said that the County Assembly would support development through playing effective oversight and legislative roles. The speaker assured the governor that the MCAs would push for transparency in financial management which would build trust in utilization of public funds.
“This house has members who are willing and eager to serve. They will support the agenda for growth,” he said.
To date, the governor has held dozens of preliminary meetings with dozens of investors who have expressed interest in various sectors including health, mining, manufacturing and agro-processing. Although most of the meetings are in preliminary stages, the governor reiterates that his presence in the early stages will bolster investors’ confidence and is proof the investment drive has his full backing.
Insiders in the governor’s office hint that Governor Mwadime is keen to avoid the pitfalls of his predecessors where some workers frustrated investors by demanding huge kickbacks behind his back.
“The governor does not want any middlemen. He is meeting the investors personally to assure them of his support. This makes it hard for any greedy person to start demanding cuts and bribes,” says a source inside the governor’s circle.
The governor’s economic advisor Mr. Thomas Jumwa said the governor has met over 50 potential investors since he assumed office a month ago. He says the meetings have been successful and will pave way for deeper engagements.
“Investors are going to have a big role in developing our county. This is why our key aim is to meet and encourage them to invest with us,” he says.
A fortnight ago, the governor met a team from World Bank that sought partnership with the county to install a state-of-the-art Health Information Management System at a cost of Sh100 million. He has also met Chinese officials who want to set up an industrial park with a carpet-manufacturing plant in Voi Constituency.
By Wagema Mwangi