Embu MCAs have rejected Governor Martin Wambora’s proposal to construct an international conference centre, saying it is not a priority due to the high cost it would require to set it up.
The MCAs said there are more pressing developmental needs which can be allocated the Sh50 million that would have been spent for the initial stage of the centre’s construction.
The money, they said, can be used to build pavements and parking lots.
Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman Robert Ireri said they shot down the project as it would probably consume the largest amount of money any project in the county has ever demanded, yet it is not immediately needed by the electorate.
He said although the facility would lift the image of Embu and woo international guests, the county does not have enough accommodation facilities to host international conferences.
NOT A PRIORITY
“We were so worried of the international conference centre. But before we got to this, it is the feeling of the committee that the facility cannot be a priority win the medium term because it is not just a hall. The planning portfolio should rescind the move,” said Mr Ireri.
Speaking during debate on the Annual Development Plan, Mr Ireri said the first phase of the international conferencing facility would cost the taxpayer Sh50 million.
He urged the county government to focus more on public-private partnerships to help set up accommodation and hotel facilities to complement the structure.
Mwea MCA Harrison Mwaluko said an international conference centre requires very heavy investments, which would jeopardise the priority to address the immediate needs of the people.
The joint committees of Finance and Economic Planning and Budget and Appropriations also dropped proposals for the construction of a county treasury building and an office block for the Agriculture portfolio.
Mr Ireri said the Public Service and Administration docket had a plan to construct a 10-storey office complex to host all county ministries.
The Kagaari South MCA however urged the department of Finance to consider prioritising and expediting the construction of the County Assembly office complex.
He opined that the county would save huge sums of money if the assembly did not have to rent office space for MCAs.
Mr Ireri also observed that MCAs’ operations were hampered by the necessity to shuttle from the rented town offices to the assembly chambers, a situation that would effectively be addressed by the construction of the office complex.
The MCA urged the Public Service and Administration docket to specify the occupants of the proposed 20 ward offices.
He said agricultural extension officers and the office of the MCA ought to be housed in the proposed new office block in line with the provisions of the County Government’s Act clauses on decentralised units seeking to bring services closer to the people.