The future of Nakuru County is Mechanization and Automation
Written by Jeremy Ogolla
The County Government today held a consultative meeting with a deligation from the US Embassy and other investors to discuss on how to tap into investment opportunities within its Agricultural and Financial sector.
This comes barely few months after the much hyped Nakuru County Investment Roundtable forum in Naivasha.
During the forum held late last year, Nakuru County Governor, H.E. Susan Kihika invited investors and companies to explore the various investment opportunities, favorable business environment, and attractive returns available within the county.
Speaking today while officiating a meeting with the deligations, County Trade Executive Mr. Stephen Kuria thanked the USAID Kenya for helping the County in identifying potential investors who are willing to tap into sectors tucked within the County. He said the County administration will link investors with relevant departments to ensure effective identification of the untapped opportunities for the benefits of residents of Nakuru County.
The deligation consist of representatives from US Embassy, the employees of Hello Tractor -an American mechanization firm and the representatives from the Institute of Public Finance (IPF) among others.
“This will enable Nakuru County Government to realize the growth in all it’s sectors. Tapping into the two identified sectors the Agriculture and Finance will have a positive impact on the growth of the remaining sectors”, said Kuria.
On the issue of Agriculture, Mr. Kuria welcomed the mechanization of the sector which will improve the sector by availing the required incentives. He thanked Hello Tractor, an American firm, for choosing to develop a mechanization hub in Nakuru there by also availing tractor machines in proximity to the farmers.
He said the County will provide land for the mechanization hub as well as help the firm in marketing its tractors to the farmers.
County Agriculture director Mr. Owino said the move by Hello Tractor will ensure increase in food production as well as improved storage facilities.
“This is the noble thing, grain is the main output in Nakuru County. So far Nakuru has only three storage facilities which can only accommodate 10, 000 bags of grains. Also on tractors, Nakuru only has 400 tractors which is far less that what is required to spur the growth in Agricultural sector”, said Mr. Owino.
Hello Tractor representative, Jehiel Oliver, said they will come up with a well structured program to help framers to speed up their mechanization opportunities.
” We will start by identifying the sites for the mechanization hub. After that we will see on financing as well as after sale support on the tractors”, said Me. Jehiel.
According to Economic survey findings by various institutions, Nakuru is fast rising to become the most preferred investment destination for local and international investors.
It is projected that the county has an economic potential worth hundred of billions in agricultural value addition, manufacturing, geothermal exploration, tourism, and real estate.
Meanwhile on the financial front, the County is keen to improve it’s tax collection. According to the Institute of Public Finance(IPF), this can be achieved through among other things identifying the tax base and monitoring compliance.
IPF Chief executive, James Muraguri said they will partner with County on matters technical capacity building resource for Own Source Revenue(OSR) strategy development to foster private sector activity in the County.
Mr. Muraguri said they will also help the County on identifying opportunities for service provisions that County can charge.
So far Nakuru is collecting 1.2 billion tax revenue far much below the projected target of 11 billion. Other areas discussed were revenue collection on housing sector which still see some lucklusturre due to poor collection system.
However the introduction of single business permit by the County administration has seen some positive feedback.
The move is part of measures by the county government to remove hurdles affecting cost of doing business in the county.
Meanwhile, USAID Deputy Office Director Mr. Harrigan Mukhongo, said as a development facilitator, the agency will continue to collaborate with County Government to help transform socio-economic wellbeing of it’s people.
He called on the Nakuru County to set up desk at the upcoming American Chamber of Commerce summit (Amcham) so as to showcase Nakuru as investment destination.
” American conference is being planned here in Kenya. Plans are still at an advance stage” said Mr. Mukhongo.
The County will thus leverage on the conference to woo investors to it’s bigger investment conference slated on April this year.
The meeting was also attended by
Present were Dr. Mara( CECM, Environment), Samwel Ndegwa(CO, Trade), Catherine Chengwany(Land) and other County representatives as well as, IPF and Hello Tractor.