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Regional bloc seeks Sh2.6b for bank shares

The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) intends to raise Sh2.6 billion to buy a stake in a bank. Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said having controlling shares in a bank would enable the entrepreneurs and residents in the economic bloc to have easy access to credit.

He said they have shelved the earlier plan of setting up a  bank because it would take a long time and a lot of resources to put the necessary structures in place.

Oparanya said they want this to happen by October so that it becomes one of the milestones to be discussed at the regional investment conference slated for the same month in Bomet county.

The other members of the bloc include Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Kisii, Nyamira, Nandi, Kisumu and Kericho.

The governor, who spoke on Wednesday at the county hall while assenting to the Kakamega Dairy Development Corporation Bill 2017 and the County Trade and Markets Bill, said the regional trade area provides a market of about 14 million people.

He added that the other priorities of the LREB in the financial year 2018/19 include the revival of the sugar industry where he said the area governors from the sugar belt intend to meet the Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri  to deliberate on this issue.

“We also want to promote transport on Lake Victoria so as to enable easy movement of goods and people in the region,” he said.

The economic bloc, he said, aims at the conservation of forests particularly the Mau and Kakamega ecosystems.

He pointed out that each county is promoting conservation efforts by not only replenishing the depleted community forests but also encouraging the planting of trees on farms and in homesteads.

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