By Mwakwaya Raymond
Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) wants the government to set aside Ksh 100 billion as economic stimulus package for Coast Counties.
The requested funding is for mitigating effects of Covid-19 pandemic and huge economic losses that resulted from the transfer of cargo handling services from Mombasa to Nairobi and Naivasha.
While Covid-19 impact caused complete collapse of the tourism industry, transfer of logistics services to the upcountry to make SGR sustainable has rendered thousands of locals jobless.
JKP Executive Director Emmanuel Nzai says the Coast Counties suffered extensively and deeply since breakout of the corona disease, and only an economic stimulus package can restore the economy.
The JKP secretariat has addressed the blueprint proposal for economic stimulus package (ESP) to President Uhuru Kenyatta through the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who graced the JKP conference in Kwale.
Covid 19 Pandemic
The JKP CEO Mr Emanuel Nzai said: “Since the outbreak of COVID 19 economic activities in the JKP region have taken a nosedive. JKP will therefore prioritize implementation of a credit guarantee schemes for micro small and medium sized enterprises to enhance their access to credit so as to expand local and foreign markets”.
The four day forum was attended by two governors namely Tana River’s Dhadho Godhana, and Kwale’s Salim Mvurya while Taita Taveta’s Granton Samboja was represented by one of his County Executive Member for Trade and Tourism Daniel Mwakisha who delivered the closing remarks.
The leaders called on the government to aid in the realization of the JKP agenda through meaningful partnership between both the National and County governments. The partnership should prioritize support and development of the SMEs.
“As JKP Secretariat we present the budget of these projects to the government for support and we are sure these initiatives would transform the economy of this region,” added Mr Nzai while submissing the memorandum to Mr Raila Odinga.
The sectors that are earmarked I the 10-point agenda include cashew nut, coconut, fruit export, and hotel industry.
Others are the blue economy and fisheries, land ownership, ports, special economic zones, among others.
On his part the former prime minister Raila Odinga who officially opened the 3rd Jumuiya Business Economic Investment Conference JABEIC virtually, said he’s very much aware of the predicaments facing the Coast counties which is as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic the SGR plan of transfer of services as well as the collapsed tourism sector saying a lasting solution has to be found to fix the economic situation.
“I want to state categorically that the, Covid 19 pandemic, SGR in one way or the other interfered with the Tourism sector hence the economic pattern and livelihoods of the coastal people and thus justifies the need to cushion the coast counties to jump start their economic activities” Raila said via the web during the 3rd Jumuiya Business Economic Investment Conference JABEIC
Each county presented it’s proposals in a bid to showcase their investment opportunities that if well harnessed could change the economic pattern of the Coastal counties.
The delegates included representatives of the implementing countries such as Italy, US, European Union, among other development partners.
UNEP Programme Management Officer in charge of Innovation Unit Ms Isabel Shirin Enyonam Wetzel emphasized on the need to involve local people fully in the entire process.
Delegations from all the six counties attended the annual conference.