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Varsity, Sugar Company critical in Kakamega’s economy

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has underscored the importance played by both Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and the troubled Mumias Sugar Company to the economy of Kakamega County.

The Governor said the two institutions were the key pillars in development and provision of job opportunities besides supporting the National Government’s Big 4 Agenda.

He said with the troubled Mumias Sugar Company and obstacles which are impending its revival, the county has embarked on four projects for which he has invited participation of the business community for sustainability.

The Projects include beautification of Kakamega Town with focus for elevation into a city, clearing of parking in Kakamega town for easy flow of traffic, development of plots in town to a better standard and digitalization of payment of rates to monitor how it is done across the county.

The Governor hopes that with the participation of the business community, the county would bounce back from the troubled Mumias Sugar Company to support those who lost their income.

He urged those who were against revival of the Mumias Sugar Company to understand that majority of people who were employed by the company were still suffering.

The Governor disclosed that the Population of Mumias town where Mumias Sugar Company is located has reduced by 70,000 people since its collapse.

“Mumias is a Municipality that is now struggling. At its peak when the sugar milling company was operating, its population was higher than Kakamega town. We hope those approving the revival of the sugar company will see the light and save our people from agony,” the governor said.

He noted that sugar barons have the tendency of emerging from nowhere when the process of reviving the company begins and halts it, wondering where they were before the process started.

The governor who chaired a taskforce involved in revival of sugar companies in the country said that it is regrettable all their efforts, which included 64 meetings in Kwale, Southern Nyanza, Kisii and Western regions, was being scuttled by selfish leaders who do not provide an alternative to the suffering residents.

The governor was speaking to stakeholders of the business community mobilized by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kakamega Chapter during a meeting at the Golf Hotel in Kakamega.

He challenged them to support the county government in achieving its mandate and in support of the National Government’s Big 4 Agenda.

Oparanya said in efforts to enhance area development, the county government has increased its revenue collection from Sh300 million since inception of the devolved unit to Sh1.4 billion and now targets to raise Sh2.1 billion in the current financial year.

This comes as Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) New Vice Chancellor Prof. Solomon Shibairo called for the participation of the business community in setting up secure business accommodation centers to accommodate the high number of students who join the institution.

The Vice chancellor who was speaking in the same function said that the University has received over 5,200 students with 4,400 being admitted through the Kenya Universities and College Central Placement Services (KUCCPS) and the remaining as privately sponsored students.

He said currently, the institution could only offer accommodation to 1000 students hence the need for other partners to offer accommodation to the rest of the population.

“Before Covid-19, we were offering accommodation to only 2000 students. This is still a lucrative business that stakeholders can partner with the university,” he noted.

By Moses Wekesa

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