No bank law yet for lake region counties
Lake Region Economic Bloc governors are yet to convince their county assemblies on the need for a shared commercial bank, months after the presumptive deadline for the launch passed. Ten of the 14 county assemblies that form the bloc have failed to pass a bill that would enable the governors spend Sh2.8 billion on buying a controlling stake in an existing bank.The assemblies failed to beat a November 2018 dateline that was set during the first LREB conference held in Bomet County on October 22-24 last year, which was opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.The top decision making organ –The Summit – bringing together 14 governors under LREB will be held on January 7 in Kisii after the one scheduled for December 17 was called off.Only Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii and Migori have passed the bill that would see each county contribute Sh200 million as county share.contribution per county for the stake in the bank whose identity is yet to be revealed.Counties that have not passed the generic Bill are – Kericho, Bomet, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Nyamira, Busia, Vihiga, Siaya, Homabay and Bungoma; where MCAs there have argued the expenditure is either not priority or the benefits of running a bank hazy.Dr Abala Wanga, the LREB Secretariat’s Chief Executive Officer said the bloc requires two more county assemblies to vote in favour of the bill so as to attain the minimum threshold of six counties to legally operationalize the economic agenda.
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“The agenda of the summit will be to discuss the progress made by the county assemblies in ratifying the LREB Bill, the level of share capital contribution for the regional bank project by the member counties and signing of the Joint Venture Corporation (JVC) by the counties, approval of reviewing updating economic blue print,” said Dr Abala Wanga, the LREB Secretariat Chief Executive.“The signing of the LREB JVC will open the doors for donors and partners for bigger investments. There has been a lot of progress made in partnership with investors and donor support for the bloc”Members of the County Assemblies went on recess in early December and will resume their normal sitting sessions in early February 2019.“The LREB Summit earmarked for January may again be re-scheduled to give a window to the county assemblies to ratify the Bill, which has run into headwinds,” said a Deputy Governor who did not want to be named for this article.