County signs mega deals at three-day investment expo

Friday March 18 2016

Hungary Ambassador to Kenya Edward Laszlo Mathe (left), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Kiprono Kittony, South Africa Ambassador to Kenya Koleka Anita Mqulwana and Governor Patrick Khaemba during the opening of Trans Nzoia County Investment Conference Expo on March 16, 2016 in Kitale town. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Hungary Ambassador to Kenya Edward Laszlo Mathe (far left), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Kiprono Kittony, South Africa Ambassador to Kenya Koleka Anita Mqulwana and Governor Patrick Khaemba during the opening of the Trans Nzoia County Investment Conference Expo in Kitale on March 16, 2016. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PHILIP BWAYO
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Governor Patrick Khaemba has signed deals worth billions of shillings in the Trans Nzoia County Investment Conference and Expo that ends on Friday.

Mr Khaemba would not divulge the exact value of the deals, saying the memorandums of understanding signed “are only the beginning of a long investment process.”

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Kiprono Kittony challenged the county to cash in on the goodwill.

“It is our hope that MoUs signed will culminate in real investments because the purpose of this conference was to entice,” said Mr Kittony.

The summit expressed concerns about scarcity of land for the Kitale town expansion plan and to accommodate new investments. Trans Nzoia Senator Henry ole Ndiema challenged the county government to create a land bank for investors to easily set up industrial parks.

“That will give us an edge above the other counties,” said Mr Ndiema.

AMBITIOUS EXPANSION PLAN

The county is yet to get part of national government land in Kitale for its ambitious urban expansion plan despite requests lodged three years ago.

Mr Khaemba said a task force had been set up to facilitate the repossession of public land grabbed by individuals close to officials in the defunct Kitale Municipal Council.

“It is certain that land is a critical part of investment for both outside town and within town.

“We are relooking into all public lands that were privatised with a view to recovering those that were fraudulently acquired," said Mr Khaemba.

He said requests to have 50 acres from the Kenya Prisons Service and a further 400 acres from the Kenya Forest Service were yet to be approved by the national government.

“We have to expand this town because the current population of 200,000 has outlived its colonial plan, which was meant for about 45,000 people,” said Mr Khaemba.

Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga told a plenary session yesterday that his county, being one of the smallest, with 700,000 people, had embraced cultural activities to go in tandem with investment.