The Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) has urged the National Treasury to settle a loan facility from a local bank which was used to put up the LBDA mall in Kisumu.
The Sh2.5 billion facility from Cooperative Bank has since accrued interest and penalties rising to Sh4 billion which the Authority is unable to pay.
LBDA Chairman Cavince Odoyo said the amount is expected to increase further if it is not settled urgently.
Speaking during a meeting with principal secretaries Jerome Ochieng (ICT), Ali Noor (Cooperatives), Joe Okudo (Sports), Dr. Alfred Cheruiyot (Post Training and Skills Development), Solomon Kitungu (Transport), Dr. Margaret Mwakima (Tourism and Wildlife) who were in the area to inspect national government projects, Odoyo said the mall which 31 percent occupied cannot manage to service the loan.
The ongoing corruption investigations on the project and the incomplete section of Kisumu- Kakamega road, he said were some of the reasons why the mall remained unoccupied years after it was completed.
He urged the principal secretaries to lobby to have all government agencies renting private space in Kisumu to take up space at the mall to enable the authority generate revenue.
ICT PS Jerome Ochieng who was the head of delegation said a meeting will be convened between the Treasury, LBDA and the Bank to fast-track the clearance of the loan.
“This matter must be addressed urgently so that the government does not lose money in interests and penalties accruing from the loan,” he said
Jerome urged the LBDA management to market the facility which sits on a 22-acre piece of land at Kanyakwar area along the Kisumu-Kakamega highway so that businesses take up space for the government to get value for the money pumped into the project.
The principal secretaries who were on a two-day tour of projects in the lake side county also visited Ahero-Kisii interchange and Ahero Rice Irrigation Scheme.
National government has set aside Sh1.4 billion for the completion of the Ahero-Kisii and Kisumu-Kericho interchanges which are at various stages of completion.
The projects expected to be completed in October this year will facilitate free flow of traffic in the area.
The PS’s were also taken through the expansion of Ahero Rice irrigation Scheme which targets to net an additional 7, 000 farmers once completed.
by Joseph Otieno/Chris Mahandara