Kenya’s Senators have called for more consultations on the proposed Sh2.8 billion bank for the Lake Region Economic Bloc.
The bloc brings together 14 counties which have agreed to remit Sh200 million each for the creation of the bank.
Governors from Kakamega, Bomet, Kisii, Migori, Kisumu, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Busia, Siaya and Kericho say the bank will boost development through enhanced credit access.
But senators Christopher Langat (Bomet), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Okong’o Omegeni (Nyamira) and Michael Mbito (Trans Nzoia) want more stakeholder consultations before the bank is created.
They said residents do not understand the viability of the bank and asked the governors to “stop hurrying the process.”
“The governors should provide more information to stakeholders and residents on the idea of setting up a bank as a flagship project to avoid getting jeopardised midway,” Langat said.
He spoke in Bomet when the senators inspected preparations for the bloc’s three-day trade, investment and blue economy conference next week.
The conference will be held in Bomet from October 23 to 26.
The senators praised the formation of the bloc, saying it will turn around the economic fortunes of the region.
The senators were with Uasin Gishu colleague Margaret Kamar. Langat called for the formation of a caucus of senators from the bloc to advance its agenda and programmes.
“I support the idea. We have sat with Bungoma MCAs and asked them to ratify the bill enabling the bloc’s formation because of the long-term benefits we will receive,” Wetang’ula said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the summit on Monday next week.
Only Kisii and Kakamega county assemblies have ratified the bill. Bloc chairman Wycliffe Oparanya on Friday announced member had unanimously agreed to extend the deadline for the ratification by a month until the end of November.
The bank was supposed to be launched during the Bomet conference but the unveiling has been postponed to await ratification from county assemblies.
At least six county assemblies are required to ratify the bill for the bank to be operational.
“We have asked the remaining 12 county assemblies to pass the LREB Bill by end of November to hasten the process of unveiling the financial institution,” Oparanya said in Kisumu. He said members have already committed Sh1.35 billion for the project.
“We expect to have that money soon to unveil the bank,” he said.