June 16, 2024

County Wants Investors Pay Shareholding Rights

Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung'aro confers with ActionAid International Kenya Country Director Susan Otieno at the 50th anniversary celebrations in Marereni (Photo/ The COAST Reporter)

By The COAST Reporter

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Kilifi County government wants investors into salt manufacturing business to allow for shareholding rights to the county when issued with licenses to operate within.

Governor Gideon Mung’aro decried the exploitation of previous salt firms on its resources without adequately giving back to the community.

Through shareholding rights, the county believes it will be in a position to benefit the locals from the resources.

Marking 50 years of ActionAid International in Kenya at Kasarani grounds, Marereni area of Adu Ward in Magarini Subcounty, the governor said he would not watch as ‘foreigners’ reap millions from its resources without benefiting its peoples.

Those salt firms whose land leases have expired will be the first casualties of Mung’aro’s new demands after he declined to renew the tenancy agreements until the firms accept to partner with his administration.

“Some companies have approached me for renewal of lease agreements, but I have refused unless they are ready to partner with us for benefit of our people.”

He was categorical that persons willing to do salt business will have to renew their agreements in the county government’s terms so as to ensure the people become shareholders of their God-given resources.

In order to attract investments in the county, the government has set aside 3,000 acres of land at Kayafungo ward for the setting up of an industrial park to partner with a foreign company.

“We are doing this so that our land and potential is not exploited by investors without benefiting our people.”

Those in attendance were ActionAid International board chairperson Helen Grace and ActionAid Kenya chairman Sam Muga.

At the same time, the governor announced that his administration would streamline operations in the salt firms where locals have been complaining of unfair treatment including displacement from their ancestral land, poor working conditions and blockages of access roads to the sea.

From next week, he intends to meet with all salt firm owners to chart a way forward with orders to open all access roads to the sea.

He praised ActionAid International, Kenyan Chapter for championing the rights of women and the youth pledging to support nongovernmental organisations working with the locals at the grassroots.

According to him his administration would grant the Magarini Sauti ya Wanawake Community-Based Organization permission to set up a rescue centre for women and girls from sexual gender-based violence after being requested by its chairperson Mercelline Kadii.

Ms Kadii said many women rescued from SGBV were living in the homes of Sauti ya Wanawake Magarini as there was no rescue centre for them to get psycho-social support and counselling.

The Mung’aro administration has started the construction of a Sh45 million rescue centre for girls who fall victims of SGBV and teenage pregnancies.

County executive committee member for Gender, Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Services Dr Ruth Dama Masha said SGBV prevalence had reduced from 33 per cent in 2019 to 13 per cent this year (2023) due to concerted efforts by various stakeholders.

ActionAid International pledged to work with the county government and other partners in order to achieve a society lacking social ills such as sexual harassment against women and girls.

Muga praised the county government and other partners while expressing its commitment to supporting them in the fight against various challenges facing the country and the world in general.

“ActionAid Kenya has a unique contest of operation in Kenya. These are difficult times with global inflation and it is worsened by the current humanitarian crisis through drought that has affected our country and has impacted our programmes.”

“As we commit to support the communities, we will still ask for enhance resourcing of operations, increased fundraising and the ability to tackle the duo issues of climate change and economic justice,” he said.

Its board chairperson praised the work done by ActionAid Kenya and particularly, in Kilifi where  it has been working with government to influence policies especially, on land, water and healthcare among others.

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