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Turkana County Allocates Sh441 million for Relief Food

The Turkana County Government has set up a Sh441 million fund for relief food as part of measures to mitigate against adverse effects of the Coronavirus.
At the same time, the County also established a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to help government effectively mobilise resources to address the pandemic and allocated an initial Sh479.8 million through a supplementary budget.
Governor Josphat Nanok said the funds committed for relief food operations are meant to serve 759,335 persons and 108,476 households at 50 percent food ration as part of efforts to cushion residents against the ravaging effects of Coronavirus.
“Because 70 percent of our livelihood in Turkana County is dependent on pastoralism, there is need for my Government to cushion the population against vulnerability during this difficult period and in case of a lockdown,” Nanok said on Thursday during a press briefing.
The Governor revealed that the County Treasury will waive Sh40.7m for agricultural produce cess, water distribution and drilling services, health sector fees, educational institutions, liquor licensing, market fees and single business permits for salons, barber shops and restaurants and entertainment facilities that was factored in the Turkana County Finance Amendment Bill 2020 as an additional measure to address COVID-19.
Nanok has also directed a tax exemption on market fees in the months of April, May and June to cushion the citizens, both traders and household water users from the loss arising from COVID-19.
The Governor who was addressing the media accompanied by other County leaders at the new County HQ complex said that the County will clear eligible pending bills worth Sh90 million within one month to “improve liquidity and ensure businesses remain operational.”
He said a command centre will be set up at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) and an allocation Sh112m set aside to cover expenses related to public sensitisation, refurbishment of the ICU facility, quarantine and isolation centres and to procure essential supplies to protect health care professionals and frontline staff and the public from the spread and effects of COVID-19.
Nanok called on the National Government to increase the beneficiary numbers under the social safety net programme and appealed to well-wishers and private investors to chip in and support the County Government on preparedness for the pandemic.
He also announced that the County Water Department will waive water bills in Lodwar municipality and Kakuma town, carry out water trucking and repairs of water facilities.
He said senior County Government officials had volunteered to have their salaries reduced and channeled to the Covid-19 fund with the Governor giving up Sh50,000, Deputy Governor Sh30,000, County Executives, Chief Officers and other officers in job group-S taking a pay cut of Sh20,000 while County Directors will take a salary deduction of Sh10,000.
Governor Nanok called on journalists to exercise fairness in their reporting and publishing misleading information that may cause panic among members of the public.
County Commissioner Wambua Muthama urged the public not to politicise the matter and assured that the police had beefed up security in the county.
Senator Malachy Ekal and Woman Rep Joyce Emanikor urged the public to disregard misleading reports that they had tested positive for Coronavirus.
The Senator commended the County Government for the response and preparedness and urged national security agencies to beef up security across Turkana.
Other leaders present included Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, MPs James Lomenen (Turkana South), Lodepe Nakara (Turkana Central), Epuyo Nanok (Turkana West); Leader of Majority in the County Assembly Betwel Kobongin and the Leader of Minority Benedict Lokamar.
Senior County Government Officials present included County Secretary Peter Eripete; County Executives Jane Ajele (Health), Emathe Namuar (Finance and Economic Planning), Jenipher Nawoi (Lands) and Esther Lokwei (Trade); and Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo.
By Peter Gitonga

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