Busia Governor Paul Otuoma took the oath of office with a promise to socio-economically transform the devolved unit and ensure that residents were guaranteed a prosperous future.
Otuoma who spoke shortly after being sworn into office alongside his deputy Arthur Odera by High Court Judge P.J. Otieno and Chief Magistrate Lucy Ambasi at Busia County Stadium said he had taken a constitutional oath of office to serve residents diligently as their second governor.
Otuoma who takes over from Governor Sospeter Ojaamong vowed to undertake a radical surgery in the public service in a spirited effort to improve service delivery to the border residents.
He said his administration is aware of a myriad of challenges bedeviling the county including a poor health care system, high poverty levels, food insecurity, lack of employment opportunities, lack of reliable clean water, poor infrastructure, limited access to educational facilities and training opportunities and many others.
Otuoma promised to improve and revamp provision of health care services in line with “Afya ni Mali” concept.
He said: “Within the first 100 days of my administration, I shall mobilize resources to ensure that our hospitals have adequate drugs and non- pharmaceuticals.
“I shall work on the facelift of lower-level health facilities to provide primary health care in order to reduce referral cases to our County Referral Hospital.
“We shall strengthen institutional and technical capacities for the provision of effective service delivery.
“I will equip and improve the level 4 health facilities in Nambale, Port Victoria, Kocholia, Amukura, Sio-port and Khunyangu. Our work to enhance community and health partnership engagement in preventive health interventions is expected to reduce morbidity rates in the
Otuoma who pledged to implement a scheme of service for all practitioners in the health sector including the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), challenged health practitioners to change their attitude and improve on how they deal with the people seeking services because people have a right to access quality health care.
On food security, the governor noted that although the County Government may not provide food directly to the citizens, it has a responsibility to provide support services to ensure the people produce enough to feed themselves and earn a living out of their agricultural investments.
“We will strengthen producer groups in the agricultural sector and link them to markets and business development service providers to promote agribusiness and exploit local market opportunities.
“I shall promote livestock breed improvement to improve quality and increase supply, support most vulnerable households with farm inputs and provide extension services on the best agronomic practices.” he stated.
The governor also pledged to deal with the perennial water challenges the county has faced since independence.
“As a county government, we shall carry out feasibility studies, surveys and designs to develop and implement a Busia County Water Master plan for construction of Water supply systems, sanitation, and hygiene solutions.
“I commit to support water and sewerage companies in the county through a policy framework and public private partnership to ensure that this critical commodity is available to our population.” Otuoma said.
He also disclosed that his administration will establish a Busia County Economic Council comprising of the business community, foreign and domestic investors, senior civil servants, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and relevant stakeholders in the economy, with an objective of developing an Economic Recovery Plan to guide in the fiscal planning and investment.
The governor also took issue with the county’s poor revenue collection systems revealing its inability to realize set local revenue targets in the past decade despite increased revenue streams.
He said: “This perennial shortfall in revenue collection has affected implementation of the county budget. My administration will put in place stringent measures both administratively and in policy to address this challenge with immediate effect.”
Deputy Governor Odera said their administration is committed to the task ahead and their leadership will spearhead establishment of proper systems and structures that will deliver services to residents.
He said: “We must make sure that we deliver development that our people can feel and touch. This is our mandate and I promise to support our governor fully on that course.”
Also present during the ceremony included Governor Sospeter Ojaamong and his deputy Moses Mulomi, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and newly elected Busia leaders.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait