Bungoma County Councils budget aims at promoting developmental projects for job creation
Written by Rosemary Wachiye and Protus Simiyu
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The financial budget of year 2012/2013 is set towards promoting developmental projects in Bungoma County that are aimed for economic empowerment through setting up new industries and reviving the once operational industries in the region.
According to the Vice Chairman in the budget committee who is also the Webuye Member of Parliament Alfred Sambu, the flagship projects will foresee development of the county.
Speaking to residents of Mitukuyu village in Lugusi Location, Sambu stated that the government is working towards reviving all the closed down factories in Bungoma County like Pan Paper factory of which the government had set aside Sh.500 Million to revive the factory and then sell it off to a private investor.
“In a period of 3 to 6 months Pan paper will be running under a strategic management partner under the support of the government and will later be sold out to a private investor who will then run it as a private company,” said Sambu.
He explained that all the debts owed to the short term lenders of Pan Paper factory have been cleared and that the government has now appointed a receiver for both the Government and Long term lenders, Mr. Ian Small who is set to evaluate the factory assets after which the factory will be sold off.
Sambu reveals that the government is planning to start a paper conversion plant in Webuye to avoid exporting the produced paper to other parts for conversion and hence create more employment opportunities for residents.
“Soon there will be a paper converting factory so that what comes out is not rolls of paper, but the finished paper product,” said Sambu.
Kitinda dairy has been allocated Sh.100 Million for its revival and he encouraged people to go into dairy farming while Sh.50 Million was allocated for the revival of Malakisi Ginnery and called for residents to embark on production of cotton to benefit from it.
He reveals that since Western Province is well known for its farming activities there is a probability of setting up a fertilizer manufacturing in Bungoma county saying that soon a feasibility study will be carried to ascertain where the plant can be put up.
Bungoma Municipality budget disowned
Elsewhere, the Bungoma Municipality Mayor Cllr. Patrict Sulechi has disowned the budget calling for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the council over misappropriation of funds by the Chief Executive officers.
In unlikely circumstances the chairman of the Finance Committee Cllr. Joseph Maguda was forced to read to stakeholders a financial report of the fiscal year 2011/2012 saying they were yet to receive this year’s budget from the relevant offices.
The highly charged stakeholders accused the entire Municipal management for swindling public funds saying projects that were proposed during the FY 2010/2012 were pushed to FY 2011/2012 but up to date no projects had been implemented despite the fact that the money was released.
“We are paying a lot of revenue to this council but we are not getting any services, it is absurd that the Mayor can publicly claim that he was not aware of the budget function yet he is in official gown,’’ one stakeholder charged.
The stakeholder’s alleged lack of seriousness and good will among the Chief Executive Officers at the Bungoma Municipal council as majority of the councilors including the Town Clerk were not present.
The Mayor defended himself saying the budget reading notice was given to him minutes to the function asserting that the Chief Executive officers should be probed by the necessary authorities.
After minutes of dillydallying and being under pressure from the journalists, the finance chairman Joseph Maguda made available copies of this yeas budget claiming they had received the finance budget from the provincial office after hours of delay.
In the report the Municipality is projected to receive a total of estimated income for FY 2012/2013 Sh. 159,597,183 with an estimated expenditure for the same period of Sh. 157,972,533 giving a net surplus of Sh. 1,624,650.
The council also has allocated total personnel expenditure of Sh.82, 906,769, operation expenditure will receive Sh. 50,144,280 and Sh. 20,269,306 for maintenance expenditure while debt resolution was allocated Sh500, 000.
In the report the Bungoma Municipality had further allocated Sh.27, 723,607 on core poverty related projects ranging from health facilities, educational facilities, water and sanitation, roads network and bursaries.