Speaking at the Nakuru Agricultural Society of Kenya showground moments after she was sworn in as Nakuru County Governor, Susan Kihika laid out her administration’s agenda for the next five years. The newly elected governor of Nakuru made the following commitments.
Environment & Water Supply
The water supply in Nakuru has not been able to meet the demand by the residents and I intend to undertake the following to address this:
- In line with the Intergovernmental Act, I shall engage with the National government to ensure we get a contractor to complete Itare Dam as well enter into negotiations with Baringo county for supply of water from Chemususu dam. Itare Dam will provide water to Kuresoi, Njoro, Nakuru Town while the water from Chemususu will supply to Rongai and Subukia. We shall also construct the Malewa dam to supply water to residents of Naivasha and Gilgil sub counties.
- The county will also construct a sewerage system for all the sub-counties that do not have one, beginning with Gilgil sub county.
- In addition, we shall finalize the water pipeline from Njoro treatment works to Rongai to ensure an adequate supply of water.
- In a bid to cut down the power costs in running the borehole we shall prioritize solarization of all boreholes sunk by the county in all the eleven sub-counties.
- I will engage with the President-elect and seek the immediate lifting of the moratorium on logging imposed by the National Government four years ago that has devastated the economies of Njoro and Molo sub-counties,
- As a county, we will support both large and small-scale private farmers in tree planting to increase the current forest cover and embracing the Clean Development Mechanisms for carbon credit schemes using forest cover as a Carbon Sink,
- We will also collaborate with KFS, KWS, and WARMA in enforcing the conservation of protected areas in the County including; forests, wildlife, archeological sites, and wetlands,
- We shall also establish an annual environmental clean-up day by all residents of the county in each sub-county,
The national “Big-Four” agenda recognizes agriculture as one of its key elements and a major driver towards achieving food nutrition and food security in the country. In our county, the agriculture sub-sector is the biggest contributor to the Gross County Product, and provides employment to thousands of county residents.
Agriculture also enhances economic and social development through improving food security, income generation, employment and wealth creation, foreign exchange earnings as well as ensuring security of land tenure and efficiency in public land management.
My administration will undertake the following to support the sector:
- Enhance access to farm inputs (including fertilizer) and subsidized services (including Artificial insemination) for co-operatives and individual farmers by ensuring the Cooperative fund is allocated Kes 1 billion annually,
- We shall recruit additional agricultural extension officers for both crop development and veterinary services who will be equipped with transport to ensure visits to farmers in all the sub-counties,
- The county will continue to work closely with Egerton University to operationalize the Egerton Agro-processing industrial park which will include modern silos, cold stores facilities and agricultural parts.
- We shall ensure strict implementation of quality control, weights and measures to standardize packaging of local agricultural products,
- Develop a policy to guide farmers on contracted farming for agricultural products including pyrethrum, avocadoes and vegetables with guaranteed markets and minimum returns,
- We shall also provide training on the use of ICT technology in farming practices so as to boost productivity,
It is often said that a ‘healthy nation is a working nation’. The Health Sector, over the last 10 years of devolution has taken the lion’s share of the entire Nakuru County budget with an average of 35%. The Covid 19 pandemic that was detected in early 2020 has put a huge strain on the health sector. This is in addition to the large number of patients referred to our facilities from neighboring counties.
My government will continue to focus on the health sector and will undertake the following:
- Healthcare workers due for promotions and re-designation will be promoted and re-designated, and subsequently, adequate budget will be allocated to ensure timely promotions.
- Health workers serving on contract will be confirmed as permanent and pensionable.
- All the approved scheme of services will be implemented to ensure career progression of all health workers,
- Additional health workers will be recruited to progressively achieve staffing norms and standards and reduce the service delivery lead time.
- Existing training collaboration with MOH for health workers will continue to be supported to ensure the county has all the required specialties.
- A training fund accessible for all health workers will be provided for higher diplomas, degrees, and master’s/ specialization programs .
- Continue operationalization of the hospital management fund (facility improvement fund).
- Work with Ministry of Health (MOH) and the donor community to continue funding primary health facilities,
- All patients with long-term diseases (diabetes, hypertension, dialysis patients, and cancer) will be organized into support groups to enhance service delivery and streamline access to drugs and care.
- All sub-county hospitals will have dedicated youth-friendly centers.
- All sub-county hospitals will have palliative care services to ease access to services and drugs.
- The county will establish an ambulance services unit to streamline and enhance equitable access to ambulatory care across the county and ensure free ambulatory services for maternal and emergency care.
- The county will work with the national government to ensure universal health access through the Nakuru Medicare card and universal access to NHIF cover with the aim of eliminating out of pocket expenditure for all citizens in Nakuru, as a short term measure, all over 65 years, PLWDs and orphans will be registered to ensure free access of health services in public health facilities.
- The county will provide an adequate budget for the procurement of drugs and essential medical supplies.
- The county will prioritize completion and equipping of all stalled health projects.
- All sub-county hospitals will be upgraded to level five hospitals with adequate bed capacity in all wards to avoid sharing of beds.
- The county will develop an adequate number of maternities by expanding and upgrading existing health facilities and developing new health facilities with maternal services.
- The county will develop, through public-private initiative, a level 4 hospital in Nakuru to offer dedicated services to all public servants, both county and national, the disciplined forces, provincial administration and community health workers. The county will work with NHIF and other private insurance firms to ensure there will be no out-of-pocket expenses when services are sought at this hospital.
- The county will develop a robust health management structure by strengthening the sub-county management and the hospital management teams by ensuring adequate funding and operations autonomy with proper supervision from the county management team.
- The hospital boards of management will be constituted within the community of serves to ensure ownership by the community and participation by the community in decision making.
- The county will deploy a robust ICT system to manage patients in health facilities, drugs and essential medical supplies and ensure transparency in resources utilization
- The community health services will be revived and strengthened by paying on a monthly basis a stipend of 5,000 per month to community health volunteers (CHV) with future adjustments upwards guided by resource availability and inflation.
- In close collaboration with NACADA, ensure that we curb illicit brews and eliminate drug and substance abuse and also provide rehabilitation centers for addicts.
Infrastructure has been identified as a key enabler for sustained economic growth, development and poverty reduction.
The Chinese have a proverb that says, “If you want to get rich, build a road first.” My dream is for the people of Nakuru city to be rich and in order to do this I have prioritized the following for the infrastructure sector:
- To develop a robust Transport Infrastructure Master plan covering road and transport connectivity for the county. I shall also engage with all the stakeholders in the business and matatu sector so that we have an acceptable formula for the use of the Matatu terminus with picking and dropping zones,
- Establish the County Roads Maintenance Board that will manage dedicated funds from the fuel levy to cover all the eleven sub-counties,
- Establish six road units that will be fully equipped (Grader, Dozer, Tippers, Roller and Supervision vehicle) to cover the eleven sub counties and will involve the Youth in road maintenance and public works as a way of creating employment,
- Annual maintenance of 2,000 kilometres of murram roads in the classified road network across the County as well as identify 100km for improvement to bitumen standards and ensure maintenance.
Pre primary education, village polytechnics and homecraft centres have been devolved to the counties and play a key role especially for children starting their education journey. For many a child, it is often quite a distance from their homes to school hence not making it practicable to go home for a meal and go back to school.
In light of this I will undertake the following for the education sector in the county as regards Early Childhood development:
- Implement a School Feeding Program in all ECDs to increase enrolment,
- Consolidate all the bursary allocations so as to ensure equitable distribution with priority to the needy and poor students.
- Support partnerships between universities and industry for incubation and commercialization of innovations;
- Provide equipment to technical training institutes, through partnerships with industry and other external partners;
- Liaise with the National Government to Establish a school of public service in collaboration with higher learning institution(s); and
- To set up a community library in every Sub-county ,
- Provide better trained teachers at Early Childhood Development (ECD) levels and construct modern classes,
- Enhance transition rates at all levels through collaboration with all education stakeholders,
According to the World Bank, Nakuru county has been ranked second at 6.1% in terms of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after Nairobi County which is at 21%. This reflects the importance of the county as an investment and industrial hub.
Connectivity and haulage of goods has been enhanced with the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha and the rehabilitation of the Metre gauge railway (MGR) from Naivasha to Nakuru. The dualling of the Rironi to Mau summit road will be another critical enabler in the transport network within the county.
We shall also work closely with the private sector – who are represented here including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Private Sector alliance, Hindu Council, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Nakuru Business Association (NBA).
I will further undertake the following:
- In liaison with the National government ensure the full operationalisation of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) located in Naivasha and develop synergies with the Inland Container Depot (ICD). We will also operationalise the Egerton Agro-industrial park located in Njoro sub-county in collaboration with Egerton University.
- Review the Finance Bill with a view to harmonize different levies and eliminate duplication and enhance the ease of starting and running a business in the county,
- Establish an Industrial Park in partnership with the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) in Menengai to tap into the geothermal power being generated,
- Ensure the County Enterprise Fund plays the key role of access to affordable credit to the MSMEs by allocating kes 1 billion in every financial year. This will be available to the ‘Boda bodas’, ‘Mama mbogas’ and ‘transport operators’.
- We shall construct an indoor convention centre that will be able to host up to 3,000 delegates at any one time to complement the Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector.
- Establish cottage industries in Nakuru city and Rongai,
- Set up a leather tannery in Mai Mahiu,
- Development of “Jua-Kali”’ Associations in the Sub-counties to nurture youth talents and build sheds in all the trading centers,
- Construct additional markets in each sub county,
- Realign the curriculums in our Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TIVETs) to meet the industry demands and ensure modern equipment is availed.
Land is one of the critical factors of production in the economy and also- one of the most contentious not only in Nakuru but the country as a whole. Being a factor of production, respect of property rights is crucial for both residents and potential investors.
I will therefore undertake the following with respect to lands and physical planning:
- Automate and implement the Land Information Management system (LIMs)
- Implement immediately the County Spatial Plan to ensure proper planning and zoning especially for construction,
- Curb leakages and corruption in the approval of building plans in all the sub counties,
- Promote the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution to ensure that all land buying companies issue title deeds to their members,
- Develop a master plan for Affordable housing on all county land including the county estates, 55 acres in Naivasha as well as any other county land,
- Engage with National Government to resolve the ‘land caveat’ that has been imposed in sections of Njoro, Elburgon and Kuresoi South.
From the 2019 census, Kenya’s labor force (15 – 64 years) accounts for 57 percent and youth constitute 29 percent of the total population. Nakuru County is ranked third with a population of 2.1 million after Nairobi (4.4 million) and Kiambu (2.4 million). This portends a challenge in terms of creating employment opportunities for the young people.
The County will encourage youth to participate in agriculture, sensitize youth on the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) and tap various talents through sporting activities. Moreover, more job opportunities also need to be created to meet the needs of this population and encourage them to form groups to enable them to acquire funds at low interest rate especially the youth fund which helps them to run small businesses and to create self- employment opportunities. We shall also train and harness the use ICT to create employment opportunities for the youth.
In addition, my government will also undertake the following:
- To develop a youth policy that will guide the establishment of among others a County Patriotic Youth Program to engage form four leavers for a three month volunteer service at the County, scalable to an international exchange program for students at all levels,
- Will partner with the National council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) to register and give cards to all PWDs so that they can benefit from waivers and tax exemptions.
- Establish a job bank for all qualified persons in order to market for jobs locally (Police Service, Armed forces and TSC) and internationally,
- To create a Sports Fund to support and sustain sports talents,
- Fast-track the completion of Afraha Stadium as well as the Keringet Sports Academy,
- Ensure a functional stadium in each of the eleven sub-counties,
- Linking sports to tourism circuit to attract regional and international athletes,
- Rationalize and equip social halls and convert them into sustainable income-generating ventures run by youth, women or other interest groups,
- Build a cultural and community multi-purpose hall in every sub-county to promote culture, creative arts, traditions and heritage.
Nakuru county has a staff complement of over 5,200 staff and hence the need to also ensure that they have a conducive working environment. The Public Service and Training department will continue to engage with the staff, the unions and other stakeholders to ensure there is harmony.
In addition, my government will also undertake the following:
- Full compliance to the County Government Structure provided in the County Governments Act, 2012, including the Decentralized Units in Part VI of the Act;
- Introduction of a competitive scheme of service for all cadres,
- Confirmation of staff from casual to permanent basis including all new recruitments for staff below the job group of Director,
- Promotion of staff who have served in the same job group for more than three years.
- Recruitment of village elders to form the Village councils in all the 55 wards,
Finance & Economic planning department is mandated to monitor, evaluate and oversee the management of public finances and economic affairs of the County Government. It also plays a key support role to other departments which include the preparation of the annual budgets, management of County public debt, mobilization of County financial resources for budget needs both locally and externally and preparation of financial statements.
To further enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the discharge of their mandate, the county will undertake the following:
- Digitize and automate essential services of the County including revenue collection, planning and development approvals, Single Business Permits (SBP) and trade licenses and put the same on the e-citizen platform,
- Facilitate laying of fibre optic cables to connect the County and Sub-county Headquarters,
- Provide free WIFI in all public spaces within the Central Business District (CBD) including markets, incubation hubs and the Nyayo gardens park,
- Construct ICT hubs in each of the sub counties to be able to train the youth on opportunities available online, these will complement the two hubs in Olenguruone and Subukia.
- To establish linkages with scientific, technology, innovations and research communities for knowledge sharing, technology transfer and development of innovative local solutions using appropriate technology,
- Partner with ICT stakeholders to provide the youth with training on adequate telephony and big data transmission to meet existing and projected capacities and demands.
Once again let me assure the residents of this great county that I will be accessible and will always put the interests of the people first.