Invest in Siaya to grow the economy, Orengo urges professionals

Kisii Governor Simba Arati gives a bunch of bananas to Siaya  Governor James Orengo after the signing of an MOU between Safaricom and Counties under Lake Region Economic Bloc at Kamel park hotel on May 10, 2023. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Scholars from Siaya County have been urged to invest back home to help restore the lost glory of the lakeside county.

The appeal was made during a validation workshop for County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP 2023-2027) in Nairobi.

The development programme, which is the third generation master plan is anchored on agriculture and the blue economy. 

It illustrates the county’s development aspirations for the next five years. The plan is envisaged to provide a framework to guide the coordination and management of development in the county.

Speaking during the event in Nairobi, Governor James Orengo said the county will shift the economic structure from an agrarian substance rain-fed agriculture to more mechanised large-scale agribusiness and agro-processing.

‘‘Let’s not cry for resources from up, (national government) that is not going to change the face of Siaya. Even in the best situation, if you get anything beyond Sh3 billion we will be lucky. And with such an amount, in a big county you cannot make any significant change,’’ Orengo said.

Orengo called for a collective approach, saying it is only by coming up with an investment policy that will attract investors. 

He said together with other lake region counties, a lake region front utility is going to be created to help the four counties tap and utilise resources from Lake Victoria.

The meeting was part of the validation process which has been ongoing for some time and once approved, will become part of the five-year development plan for the county.

Orengo noted that transforming the area’s agriculture is going to play a key role. “In our transformative agenda, if we can use agriculture as a pillar and foundation for modernisation and industrialisation, it will transform our county from a one commodity county to mass production,” he said.

Cash crops earmarked for processing to finished products through agro-processing include rice, cotton, sugarcane and soya beans.

The governor said the county revenue collection plan is part of many ways of enhancing earnings, noting that there are many gaps in revenue collection which must be filled. ‘‘We need to introduce automation and cashless process in order to improve our collection from the current Sh2 billion,’’ he noted.

Ben Omollo, former head of strategy at The Standard Group said certain countries have been able to achieve the development goal citing Ethiopia, which moved from a famine and food-insecure country to one that has plenty.