By Felix Agunda in Busia
Busia Governor H.E Dr Paul Otuoma last week unveiled a team of eleven Eminent Persons that will sit in the County Budget and Economic Forum (CBEF) to spearhead the budgeting process. The team which will function as a think-tank for his administration on matters finance and economic management consists of Kenya’s former Attorney General Amos Wako and former Finance Minister Chris Okemo who will represent the elderly and professionals interest groups respectively in the forum. Mr Wako also Senator for Busia while Chris Okemo was MP for Nambale.
Others in the team are Rev Maurice Langiri (Faith-based Groups), Mr James Nyongesa (Business Community), Mrs Patricia Okello (Labour Issues), Miss Benedette Muyomi (The youth), Mr Dickson Mrade Pekol (PLWD) Mrs Bertha Okoyo (Women), Mr Stephen Ojiambo (Professionals), Mrs Roselyne Amunyelet (Women) and Mr Dennis Awori (Professionals).
Addressing the team at Busia Agricultural Training Centre, Dr Otuoma who exuded confidence in the team said the forum offers his government a platform to o consult broadly on various aspect of public policy, planning and finance management. “I want to call upon this team that has sacrificed it’s time to help us reverse some of the challenges Busia is battling with including delivery of health care services, low agricultural productivity, nutrition, poverty and infrastructure,” said the governor.
Mr Okemo and Wako were in agreement and challenged the forum to identify at least four flagship projects akin to National Government’s Big Four development agenda that can be implemented progressively in subsequent budgets. “The projects should prioritize pertinent issues affecting residents such as poverty, water and food security which are necessities and then beyond we also look at infrastructure,” said Okemo.
The former legislator encouraged the county planners to go beyond the 70/30 written rule on budgetary allocation and increase the funds for development to at least 35 percent and recurrent 65%. In his remarks, Mr Wako cautioned that to address the challenges bedelving the county, both courageous leadership and drastic measures will be required.
“Any County prides itself in its headquarters and key service delivery centers. I challenge our urban planning executive to work on this swiftly and give our headquarters a facelift alongside Malaba and other urban centres across the county,” advised Wako.
CBEFs are forums established in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) 2012 Section 137. Their main purpose is to provide a means of consultation by the county government on the preparation of county plans, the County Fiscal Strategy Paper, the Budget Review and Outlook Paper for the county, matters relating to budgeting, the economy, and financial management at the county level.