Mudavadi accuses State of sidelining Western Kenya in 2020/21 budget
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has accused Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani of sidelining Western Kenya in the budget for fiscal year 2020/21.
Mudavadi decried lack of funding for key sectors that power the economy of the region top being the sugar industry and the nascent blue economy.
“We note with profound concern that the sugar industry, that has been the mainstay of our economy in Western Kenya, remains marginalized.
Not a single word of hope has been given to the sugar farmer and to all those whose lives and livelihoods have been defined around the sugar industry,” he said in a statement.
He noted that from Awendo to Nzoia and from Mumias to Ramisi, the millers are struggling to stay afloat.
“We are left wondering whether this is a factor of the State giving up on the industry, or is it erroneous human omission, or deliberate marginalization?” He posed.
“Whatever the case, this must be corrected immediately. We call upon parliament to attend to this concern. We also note that nothing that could imbue us with hope has been said about fishing and fisheries. The government has previously foregrounded marine life as the next frontier of economic investment and growth.”
At the same time, Mudavadi took a swipe at Yatani for neglecting the much-hyped blue economy — which despite having huge potential remains at embryonic stage.
“Marginalization of entire populations in the country continues to be a matter of profound concern to us. This is not just about our Western Kenya region, but other regions too, including marginalization of the urban poor throughout the country,” he said.
The former vice president also called on the government to buttress efforts of counties to combat the scourge of Covid-19.
“We take note, for example, that while the health sector in the budget has taken a formidable allocation of funds, the mainstay in this budget is focused on the Nairobi Metropolitan Area,” he noted.
While we appreciate the fact that this is the epicentre of the new coronavirus menace, we also wish to state that the Nairobi Metropolitan Area is not Kenya. Let all Kenyans benefit from equitable budgetary allocations in all sectors.
Mudavadi also expressed concerns about the stalling and overcrowding of trucks at the Kenya Uganda border asserting it was killing cross border trade between the two countries.
“If the cause is fear of the new coronavirus disease, then our people who live adjacent to the border have every reason to be very afraid. The possibility of a terrible outbreak of the covid-19 disease in Western Kenya is very real,” he warned.
“We call upon the Kenya Government to move swiftly to decongest the affected border points. This must be a matter of priority. We will closely monitor the developments and will not hesitate to address them again, should the situation persist.”