GOVERNOR OTUOMA COMMITS TO FORM AN ALL INCLUSIVE GOV’T AS HE TAKES OATH OF OFFICE
Busia Governor, H.E Dr Paul Nyongesa Otuoma has vowed to steer the devolved unit on a development trajectory to ensure residents fully enjoy the fruits of devolution.
Dr. Otuoma who officially assumed office on Thursday after he was sworn in alongside his deputy H.E Dr Arthur Odera by High Court Judge Justice P.J. Otieno and Chief Magistrate Lucy Ambasi at Busia County Stadium said he had taken a constitutional oath of office to serve residents diligently as their second governor.
The new Governor noted with concern that the county is unable to realize its set revenue targets in the past decade despite increased revenue streams.
” This perenial shortfall in revenue collection has affected implementation of the county budget. My administration will put in place stringent measures both administratively and in policy to address these challenges with immediate effect,” he said, stressing that this is where he was going to start with after this inuagration.
In his first ever address, the county boss said his administration is cognisant of challenges facing the county health care system, increased poverty, food insecurity, lack of opportunities for employment of young people, lack of reliable clean water, poor infrastructure, limited access to educational facilities and training opportunities among others.
On matters health, Dr. Otuoma promised to improve and revamp provision of health services in line with Afya ni Mali concept.
“Within the first one hundred days of my administration, I shall mobilize resources to ensure that our hospitals have adequate drugs and non- pharmaceuticals. I shall work on the facelift of lower-level health facilities to provide primary health care to reduce referral cases to our County Referral Hospital. We shall strengthen institutional and technical capacities for the provision of effective service delivery,” he said.
He went on; “I will equip and improve the level 4 health facilities in Nambale, Port Victoria, Kocholia, Amukura, Sio-port and Khunyangu. Our work to enhance community and health partner engagement in preventive health interventions is expected to reduce morbidity rates in the county.”
The governor said his administration shall further implement a scheme of service to all practitioners in the health sector including the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in the health department to improve service delivery.
He however, challenged health practitioners to change their attitude and improve on how they deal with the people seeking services because people have a right to access quality health care.
On food security, Dr Otuoma reiterated that even though the County Government may not provide food directly to the citizens, it has a responsibility to provide support services to ensure the people produce enough to feed themselves and earn a living out of their agricultural investment.
“We will strengthen producer groups in the agricultural sector and link them to markets and business development service providers to promote agribusiness and exploit local market opportunities. I shall promote livestock breed improvement to improve quality and increase supply, support most vulnerable households with farm inputs and provide extension services on the best agronomic practices,” he said
The governor reminded residents that during his engagement with them, they expressed serious challenges in accessing water, an essential commodity.
“As a county government, we shall carry out feasibility studies, surveys and designs to develop and implement a Busia County Water Master plan for construction of Water supply systems, sanitation, and hygiene solutions. I commit to support water and sewerage companies in the county through a policy framework and public private partnership to ensure that this critical commodity is available to our population,” he added.
He committed that his administration shall establish a Busia County Economic Council composed of the business community, foreign and domestic investors, senior civil servants, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and relevant stakeholders in the economy, with an objective of developing an Economic Recovery Plan to guide in the fiscal planning and investment.
Another area of interest highlighted by the governor was the improvement on local revenue collection occasioned by the county’s inability to realize its set local revenue targets in the past decade despite increased revenue streams.
“This perennial shortfall in revenue collection has affected implementation of the county budget. My administration will put in place stringent measures both administratively and in policy to address this challenge with immediate effect.”
Other sectors set for improvement include Transport, Infrastructure development, beautification of Busia and Malaba towns, empowerment of Women, Youth and People Living with Disability, Spatial Planning and Urban Development, promotion of investment in education-ECD, Vocational Training, Bursary and Scholarships.
Others are support of local Industry and manufacturing in the county, Development of Information, Communication and Technology.
The governor reiterated that Busia being a cosmopolitan county that brings together all tribes of Kenya and all the nationalities of the world, leaders must join hands; rise above partisan political, tribal and racial divide for a better future.
“The issues highlighted above require immediate action because they affect the backbone of the livelihood of our people. As an ODM governor, I subscribe to the philosophy of social democracy- Maisha Bora. This is the philosophy of our party leader, The Rt. Raila Amollo Odinga and I believe we will change the destiny of the people,” he said.
Deputy Governor Odera said they are committed to the task ahead and will ensure that they put in place systems and structures that work.
“We must make sure that we deliver development that our people can feel and touch. This is our mandate anI i promise to support our governor fully on that course.”