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House Committee inspects development projects in Western, Nyanza regions

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National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Regional Development is currently carrying out its oversight role by inspecting, government projects managed by the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA).

The Committee led by the Vice – Chair Hon. Mary Wamaua visited the Lake Basin Mall Complex who’s construction was initiated on 7th August 2013.

The Mall located at the heart of Kisumu City is a revenue generating venture aimed at uplifting the standards of living of the locals through employment opportunities and providing an avenue for conducting businesses.

The Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), Managing Director, CPA Wycliffe Ochiaga informed the Committee that the Mall’s construction begun on 7th August 2013 and was completed and handed over to LBDA on 19th April 2016.

He further indicated that Cooperative Bank facilitated the construction of the Mall at Ksh 2.5 billion; a loan he said was disbursed between 2013-2015.

“The loan facility for the project remains unpaid after the handover and continued to accrue interest and penalties leading to LBDA negotiating with the Bank to halt accruing of interests and penalties on the project. The authority received Ksh 2 billion between FY 2016/17 and FY 2017/18 through the ministry of devolution,” said Mr. Ochiaga.

The MD further indicated that the current the outstanding bank loan stands at Ksh 4.4 billion inclusive of interest and penalties with the Mall attracting an occupation capacity at 30%.

The Vice- Chair challenged the LBDA Management to enhance marketing and publicity strategies to advertise the project saying that people need to know about the existence of the Mall.

“This is a great facility that can be well utilized to benefit the people. I challenge your marketing and publicity teams to enhance advertisement of the premises and look for other lucrative ways including lowering rent rates to attract customers,” said Hon. Wamaua.

Members echoed her sentiments adding that if a public facility like Huduma Center would be situated at the Mall, more people would visit the facility hence getting to access other services within the Mall.

Notably, the LBDA team further sited accessibility challenges saying that the road infrastructure linked to the Mall was not well carpeted for ease of movement.

At Kabuchai Constituency, Committee Members in the Company of the area Member of Parliament for Kabuchai Constituency who is also a Member of the Committee, Hon. Majimbo Kalisanga launched St. Joseph Nalondo Girls’ and Community Water Project which is being implemented by the Lake Basin Development Authority as part of the drought mitigation measures.

The drilling, construction and equipping of the project is expected to benefit the over 1,200 learners in the School, more than 4000 households besides serving the church and the Primary School neighboring it.

“As per the hydrogeological survey report, the output of the project is expected to yield Upto 8000 Litres per hour; a yield sufficient to solve the water problem issues in the location,” said Mr. Ochiaga

Mr. Ochiaga explained that the choice of the location for the water project was greatly influenced by the high water stress levels that could not support the population of girls in the school on matters consumption and hygiene.

The school management appreciated the gesture saying that the project will bridge a huge gap by improving hygiene in the learning environment, improved academic performance and marked reduction of social-related challenges attributed to insecurities when searching for water outside the confines of the institution.

Hon. Wamaua commended LBDA for the water project initiative while underscoring the importance of hygiene in schools and particularly girl’s schools saying that it will boost their confidence hence leading to improved performance.

The Committee also visited the Kisumu International Convention Center; a project managed by the state department for devolution.

Mr. Maurice Ogolla representing PS devolution indicated that the facility when completed, is expected to serve as a multi-sectorial conference center.

Members observed that project had stalled and the contractors were not on site by the indication of a busy environment showing little or no activity on site.

Mr. Ogolla explained that the project was inactive due to lack of funds and contractors had not been paid at the time of the committee visit.

Members committed to engage stakeholders involved in the multi-billion project to ensure its completion.

The Committee is expected to visit the Nyakoe Market in Kisii County, Rice Milling Plant and in Kisumu and Fingerlings Multiplication Project both in Kisumu today.

Other Members carrying out the inspection visit include ; Hon. Kombe Harrison, Hon. Nabulindo Peter, Hon. Cherorot Kimutai, Hon. Khamis Chome, Hon. Paul Abuor, Hon. Tungule Charo and Hon. Yaqub Farah.

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