Uhuru launches Sh6bn fund to uplift poor regions

Saturday March 12 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) converses with Deputy President William Ruto during the opening of the Pastoralist Leadership Summit on March 11, 2016 in Isiolo County. He said at the Simba Lodge in Isiolo the Sh6 billion is equal to 0.8 per cent of the last audited revenue. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) converses with Deputy President William Ruto during the opening of the Pastoralist Leadership Summit on March 11, 2016 in Isiolo County. He said devolution has helped pastoralist communities. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday launched the Sh6 billion Equalisation Fund as he reached out to pastoralists to support him.

The President further established the Livestock Marketing Authority.

Addressing pastoralists from 14 counties, President Kenyatta said the fund would be effected immediately as it had been factored in the 2015/2016 Budget.

The fund was envisaged in the Constitution and has been pending for the last six years.

The Constitution set a minimum of 0.5 per cent of the national revenue to be set aside to uplift formerly marginalised and poor counties.

President Kenyatta said at the Simba Lodge in Isiolo the Sh6 billion is equal to 0.8 per cent of the last audited revenue.

Addressing the Pastoralist Leaders Summit that attracted governors, senators, MPs and assembly speakers from the counties where the livestock keepers live, President Kenyatta defended his government’s performance.

“The Jubilee government is working as we launch the Equalisation Fund and operationalise it. We will initially have Sh6 billion for the fund,” said President Kenyatta.

He was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, National Assembly Majority Leader Adan Duale, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro and a number of Cabinet and principal secretaries.

President Kenyatta said there are plans to start building the Kitale-Lokichogio-Nadapal road, and that the World Bank had already provided the money for the work.

He pledged adequate funding of regional authorities in arid and semi-arid lands (Asal).

“It is our intention to collectively uplift all Asal areas to prosperity. However, success is not only a question of hard work. We also need to change our mindset to succeed. If you only think about marginalisation, you will be marginalised for the rest of your life. You are part and parcel of Kenya,” he said.
DEVOLUTION
President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were happy that peace efforts initiated by the Jubilee administration in pastoral areas were yielding results.

They said Sh168 billion had been channelled to pastoral counties in the last three years, and an additional Sh78 billion through the Constituency Development Fund.

Mr Ruto said pastoralists, who occupy 85 per cent of Kenya’s land mass, were the biggest beneficiaries of devolution, which he said had succeeded due to the Jubilee administration’s efforts.

He described President Kenyatta as the “father of devolution”.

“We have rolled out devolution better than any government could have done,” he said. “Others could only imagine and postulate.”

Mr Ruto also called on pastoralists to support and work with Jubilee government.

The Pastoralist Leaders Summit President Billow Kerrow, Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani and his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal earlier raised concern over delays by the Government to operationalise the Equalisation Fund.

Reported by Lucas Barasa, Kennedy Kimanthi and Vivian Jebet