Channel BBI funds to fighting COVID-19, Governor Oparanya tells President Uhuru

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. Photo/Courtesy

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya wants the eagerly awaited referendum deferred to allow resources invested in dealing with the third wave of Covid-19.

Dr. Oparanya said the third wave of Covid-19 was posing a serious danger to the lives of the citizens and all the resources and energy should be put on containing the spread of the deadly virus

The Governor noted that the economic crisis the country was facing was a clear indication that holding a referendum will be a toll order and the exercises should be pushed forward.

“If there is no money at the National Treasury there is no need of pushing to have the referendum this year. We should plan to hold the referendum next year when our economy has stabilized and Covid-19 contained,” the Governor said.

Governor Oparanya was speaking in his office when he hosted the Finance and Planning Chief Administrative Secretary Mr Eric Wafukho who paid him a courtesy call.

Mr. Wafukho was in the county to supervise the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

The Governor added that Covid-19 containment measures put in place by President Uhuru Kenyatta will hinder referendum campaigns.

“It is a requirement that public awareness about the document should be done and politicians will be conducting the exercise through public meetings, this cannot work with the state in which the country is in now in regards to Covid-19,” he said.

Dr. Oparanya added that there was no need of putting a lot of pressure on the Treasury to raise money for a referendum when Covid-19 was killing innocent people.

“Funds that are being set aside to finance referendum should be disbursed to counties for Covid-19 preparedness and provision of medical care to those who contract the virus,” he said.

Oparanya also asked the president to negotiate with international financial lenders to defer their debts to Kenya for two years to enable the country to meet its domestic financial obligations.

“If the international organizations that Kenya owes money allow the State to defer paying their loans we would be saving close to between Sh800 billion to one trillion per year which is enough to help us recover from the economic crisis,” said Oparanya.