Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani and his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa said there is need to ensure counties with projects of national interest are allocated adequate funds to help in ensuring those implementing those projects are secure and their basic needs are catered for.
CS Yatani said Lamu County and others falling along the corridor need to be allocated special funds to spur development.
“Lamu gets least revenue allocation from the Treasury but with the ongoing projects such as port, there is need to be allocated adequate funds to ensure basic amenities are provided. We shall be considering that in our coming years but already enough is being put in roads to enable connectivity,” said Mr Yatani.
Lamu is one of the counties, which has been receiving the least allocation of Sh2.59 billion followed by Elgeyo Marakwet (Sh3.86 billion), Tharaka Nithi (Sh3.92 billion), Laikipia (Sh4.17 billion) and Taita Taveta (Sh4.24 billion).
CS Wamalwa, on his part, said Lamu is facing an acute shortage of housing and water and his department will mobilise funds to ensure there are adequate facilities to run the Port of Lamu and other Lapsset projects.
“During the launch of Lamu Port, we hosted about 10 governors most running from Lamu-Tana River-Garissa-Isiolo-Tharaka Nithi-Isiolo-Laikipia among others which all fall under Lapsset and soon we shall engage the leaders to give us their priorities of funding to ensure social amenities are developed,” said CS Wamalwa.
He added, “I am impressed by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi for waiving all charges for the materials used to build Lamu port berths and allowing quarrying to be done without much interference. This is the kind of partnership we want and as a government will support those counties.”
Mr Wamalwa said the government through his ministry was working to ensure those counties, which were considered “marginalised”, receive adequate funds and projects before President Uhuru Kenyatta era ends.
“Lamu has been considered a marginalised area for many years but with projects such as Lamu Port being implemented, we hope the 50-year discrimination perception will change since they already have good roads and power grid like any other counties in the country,” he said.
Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha, on the other hand, said housing and water remain the main challenge considering the influx of people in his county as a result of Lamu Port.
“We urge the government to consider the increasing population in Lamu as a result of a number of projects, which is straining our service delivery with the limited resources. We need water and houses to cater for the growing population,” said governor Twaha.
The governor said they have already started talks with the national government to start tapping Tana River water to supply the county, which is facing a serious water shortage with the increasing population.