Leaders from Vihiga County have been challenged to promote cohesion and integration.
Giving State-of-the-County address at the County Assembly on Thursday, Governor Wilber Ottichilo cautioned against clan politics and early campaigns as he urged the public at large to support the elected leadership to promote development.
Maintaining that his administration welcomes constructive criticism and engagement on all leadership, development and financial management issues in the county, he said that it should be well structured and free from malice.
“I call upon this Assembly, the Vihiga County leadership and the people of the county in general to focus and support the implementation of development projects and programs for this financial year and other years to come before 2022,” he challenged.
Ottcihilo admitted that in 2017/18 Financial Year 9 (FY) his leadership experienced challenges which slowed down the focus on development.
However, he revealed that 2018/19 FY marked a turning point in the leadership and development agenda initiatives in the county which he attributed to a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the assembly.
“In the period under review, the assembly executed its oversight, legislation and representation roles prudently and this led to the implementation of various sectoral development projects and activities across the county,” he said.
Ottichilo said that there was a significant improvement in absorption rate for development projects from less than 30% in the 2017/18 FY to 70% during the 2018/19 FY.
On revenue collection, the Governor noted that there was an increase from Sh 93 Million during the 2016/17 FY, to Sh 143 M during the 2017/18 FY.
He added that in 2018/19 FY, revenue collection rose further to Sh 178 million.
During the current Financial Year, Ottichilo said that his government has projected to collect about Sh192 million admitting that there is potential to collect even more if revenue collection systems were to be automated.
He said that projects implemented during the 2018/2019 Financial Year were renovation and equipping of Mbale County Referral Hospital and sub-county hospitals, implementation of Ottichilo Care Mother and Child program, installation of high mast and ordinary market lights across the county and construction and equipping of 108 ECDE classrooms.
He added that, “We have established Mwitoko Fish Hatchery and training farm, procured fire engine, rapid response vehicle and hired and trained fire marshals and we also rolled up Governor’s Scholarship Program among other projects.”
The governor cited delayed release of development funds by the National Treasury and unreliability in the functioning and operation of Integrated Finance Management Information System (IFMIS) as major challenges which his administration had to deal with during the financial year under review.
By Isaiah Nayika