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CRA cautions county governments, CDF kitty over duplication of projects

The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has cautioned county governments and the Constituency Development Fund [CDF] kitty over duplication and double allocation of projects.

The CRA team that has been in the county for the last week inspected equalization fund development projects in the county, and for unfinished infrastructure, called for speedy completion of the projects and promised to ensure all pending bills are cleared.

They inspected six equalization fund projects, including Akiriamet bridge and Sigor sub-county hospital theatre in Pokot central sub-county, Kanyarkwat, Kolenge’lai to Tipet road, Totum, Kopoch to Miskwony road, Tamarukwo borehole in West Pokot sub-county, and Konyao borehole in North Pokot sub-county.

This comes after the commission identified the most marginalized areas in West Pokot County for funding of projects through the equalization fund on water supply, education, roads, hospitals, and electricity.

During the visit, it was identified that Masol ward has no electricity anywhere.

“There is one secondary school and two upcoming that are yet to be registered, three primary schools, three dispensaries and the ward is expansive and half of Sigor constituency,” said Masol Ward Administrator Felix Pounyang.

Kiwawa ward has only 4 dispensaries with not enough drugs, no water and no electricity in the entire ward.

In Tapach ward, there is completely no water while Suam ward lacks basic amenities.

Kapchok ward has the least enrollment of learners as children go to graze livestock in Uganda. Water is the main challenge as it is scarce and salty.

The CRA team, led by Commissioner Jonas Kuko, visited the remote, “hard-to-reach” areas in the county to ascertain the availability of water supply, education, roads, hospitals, and electricity and how they have negatively or positively affected the community around them.

According to Kuko, the CRA is developing a Third Policy Identifying Marginalized Areas, and they visited West Pokot County to collect data on the status of basic services, which include water, roads, health, electricity, and education, for the purpose of the Equalization Fund.

“We don’t want duplication of projects. This will ensure maximum utilization of resources at the grassroots level and ensure the full realization of devolution. We urge residents to label equalization projects for them not to be double allocated,” said Kuko.

He further explained that a “third policy” is a criterion for sharing revenue among marginalized areas across the country.

He said the areas that are termed “marginalized” are determined by the data of the 2019 population and housing census by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Commissioner noted that the status of water, roads, electricity, health, and education in the region forms criteria by which marginalized areas are going to be considered during the allocation of equalization funds.

“Water, roads, electricity, health, and education are the backbone of the county’s and country’s economic progress,” he said.

He further said that infrastructure plays a critical role in society and the economy and helps in the provision of services to households and industries.

“The availability of roads, water, education, electricity, good hospitals, and other key facilities in the region is essential and helps spur economic growth,” he said.

He noted that a region that has good infrastructure development has low levels of vulnerability.

“Lack of basic amenities such as schools, water, electricity, roads, and hospitals affect the growth and overall development of that region,” he said.

He pointed out that roads help to connect people and support trade by facilitating the movement of goods, and when the same is missing, it leads to slow economic growth in that region.

He also pointed out that water infrastructure helps improve health when there is better access to clean water, and when the same is missing, it leads to bad health.

“We noted with concern that getting clean water for domestic use is a challenge in some parts of the county.” “The water scarcity makes some of the residents travel several kilometres in search of it,” he said.

Commissioner Kuko noted that from their visit to West Pokot County, they have confirmed that indeed some parts of the region are marginalized, and there is a need for more money to be pumped in for development so that no county and no one is left behind in terms of development.

“The government is committed to addressing the plight of the needy and vulnerable population affected by drought effects and those left behind in terms of infrastructure development,” he said.

He appealed to the national government to pump in more money for the areas in West Pokot where the terrain is a problem and there is a lack of basic amenities.

“The government is keen to ensure all Kenyans have access to quality services and good infrastructure for economic development,” stated Kuko.

Kuko said there is a need for the local community to be educated that they have resources that, if well utilized, could earn them a better living standard.

“The local community has resources that could earn them a better living standard, and what they lack is relevant knowledge and skills to enable them to maximize the resources available,” he said.

West Pokot County Commissioner (CC) Apollo Okello said that most areas of the county are marginalized and there is a need for more resources to be pumped in for the development of schools, water, electricity, hospitals, and roads.

“We have our unique issues which should be addressed using the equalization fund. The issue of security is not in the given guidelines and the projects named cannot be started without security. What is the need of having water when people have run away? You put up a borehole and it is vandalized,” he said.

Kopulio Location Chief Stephen Lomaruk said that security is an issue that needs to be addressed and that part of the money meant for equalization should be earmarked for security development, reiterating that a stable and peaceful environment is an important development.

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