The County Government requires further support from the National Government and development partnerships if the region is to catch up with the rest of Kenya on development, Deputy Governor Peter Lothetiro has said.
Speaking in a meeting with Senior Economic Advisor to the Deputy Presdient Ken Ohashi, the Deputy Governor that Turkana was one of the regions that had lagged behind on development blue to the marginalization caused by the Sessional Paper Number 10, that limited development in Kenya in specific areas that were considered “high yeilding”.
He listed areas where more support was needed for that he said would have the biggest impact on improving the livelihoods of the people of Turkana.They include construction of major ams to harvest water to be used for livestock keeping, irrigation farming and domestic use.
“Our population is rising, climate change implications are severe, therefore there is need for longterm development on water and food security with dams that will solve challenges of water shortage for livestock and be utilized to grow food,” he said.
The desalination of the water in Lotikipi aquifer he said was a venture that if actualized, had the potential of changing lives ‘in a bigger way than even the discovery of oil’.
The DG said the County Government had invested in the fishing industry in Lake Turkana but more still had to be done to revitalize the industry and find better markets for fish and end current exploitation of fishermen by rogue traders from Congo.
“Turkana County Government has the ability to change lives of the people and the potential is there, what we need is support from the government and partnership from organization, not aid but development partnership,” he said.
County Secretary said through Kenya’s history Turkana had minimal representation in Governance of the country, especially at the level of technical input. He said decisions were made at the national level with little input from the community.
He said that the discovery of oil in the county was Godsend, to enable Turkana reverse years of neglect by Government but cautioned on the danger of denying the community its rightful share of oil revenue.
He encouraged Advisor Shashi to urge the Presidency to invest in sectors of Agriculture for food security, education, water and health.
“The cost of living in Turkana is high, due to its geographical location prices of items are higher compared to other parts of the country, but with support we can build infrastructure and improve capacity to produce food and cut most of theses costs,” he said.
County Executive for Finance and Economic Planning Robert Ereng’ called for the national government to address the disconnect that existed in understanding of issues affecting the people and the real situation on the ground. He said Turkana potential to grow economically could not be ignored any longer and called for involvement of the community in decision making at the top.
Health Services Executive Jane Ajele urged the Government to be involved in encouraging private sector investment in the health sector.
Chief Officer for Roads Ariko Namoit said proposed capping of oil revenue based on the equitable allocation of funds to county government will deny the region a huge percentage of oil profits.
In the meeting were County Executives Charles Lokiyoto (Public Service, Disaster Management), Anthony Apalia (Trade, Youth and Gender Affairs), Chief Officers Dr Lolelea Natade (Water Services, Environment and Mineral Resources) Agnes Mana (Economic Planning), and Mark Ewesit (Lands), Security Advisor Augustine Lokwang’, and other senior county government officers.
Mr Ohashi was accompanied by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Team Leader Fumiaki Marakaini and JICA Kenya Senior Economic Advisor Anne Olubendi