By Governor’s Press Service

Turkana County Government has established a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to help the government mobilize resources to effectively address the current pandemic and has allocated an initial Sh479.8m through the supplementary a budget.

Governor Josphat Nanok has said that the County Government has committed Ksh 441m of the fund for relief food operations to serve 759,335 persons and 108,476 households at 50% food ration as part of efforts to cushion residents against the ravaging effects of Coronavirus.

“Because 70% of our livelihood in Turkana County is dependent on pastoralism, there is a need for my Government to cushion this population against vulnerability during this difficult period and in case of a lockdown”, he said today during a press briefing.

He revealed that the County Treasury will waive a total of Sh40.7m from agricultural produce cess, water distribution and drill services, health sector fees, educational institutions, liquor licensing, market fees and single business permits for salons, barbershops, restaurant and entertainment facilities that are contained in the Turkana County Finance Amendment Bill 2020 as an additional measure to address COVID-19.

The Governor has also directed a tax exemption on market collection 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.

Governor Nanok who was addressing the media with 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 announced that a command centre will be set up at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) and allocate Sh112m to cover expenses related to public sensitization, refurbishment of 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.

He 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 cheap in and support the County Government on preparedness to the pandemic.

The County boss also announced that the County Water Department to 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 agreed to voluntary salary reductions as follows; Governor Sh.50,000, Deputy Governor Sh.30,000, County Executives, Chief Officers and other officers in job group-S taking a pay cut of Ksh 20,000 while County Directors will take a salary deduction of Ksh 10,000.

Governor Nanok called on the journalist to exercise fairness in their reporting and avoid misleading information that may cause panic among members of the public.

County Commissioner Wambua Muthama urged the public not to politicize the matter and assured that the police had beefed up security in the county.

Senator Malachy Ekal and Women Rep Joyce Emanikor urged the public to disregard of misleading reports that they had tested positive of 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 Bethwel 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), Esther Lokwei (Trade) and Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo.