Busia Governor, Dr. Paul Nyongesa Otuoma, has today officially inaugurated the County Budget Economic Forum (CBEF), that aims at keeping the county economic lights on, amid political and economic rifts in the County.
The panel on the CBEF target to address the opportunities along the border town, which is rich in natural resources, to give Busia a new look, ranging from infrastructure, health, education and economic investments.
The Forum brought together experts from various fields within the County led by the former Attorney General and former Senator of Busia County, Amos Wako, former Finance Minister and Member of Parliament for Nambale, Chris Okemo, Denis Awori, representing the private sector in the forum among others.
Addressing participants at the Busia Agricultural Training Center grounds, Governor Otuoma said a rational approach to the county’s political and economic issues must be incorporated, to fix the ailing economy that has given the County a bad image.
“This meeting is happening after sharp political division that we have seen for decades, and this session is about identifying opportunities for cooperation, even in fractured economic ties,” he said.
“As a government, we will expect to get wise counsel from you and answers to some issues that we are grappling with,” noted Otuoma.
This comes at a time when the County Government is in the initial stages of budgeting process and preparation of the third generation of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) documents, that will need the Forum’s input and guidance.
Deputy Governor (DG), Arthur Odera, having chaired the Taskforce Committee that gave out a report on the status of the County, said there is need of making courageous decisions and togetherness for the government, to reach to a point of providing the best for its people.
“For us to reach to a level where we see the County providing even the basics to its people, there is a lot that needs to be put in place,” said the DG, noting that they will also be engaging the public through public participation, to get their views that will guide them in decision making.
Wako acknowledged being included in the forum, adding that it will help them share their experiences and knowledge in matters finances and economic development generally.
“The County Government cannot deliver without finances and what it is getting from the National government is little and thus the need of this forum to bridge the gap,” he added.
Chris Okemo, being an expert in matters of finance and economics, said their role in the Forum is advisory and that he is hopeful their thoughts will be accepted so as to steer development in the County to further heights.
“But if we are smart, we will make the county economy, more resilient and not drag it into a place where we would all be poorer and less secure,” said Okemo.
Awori emphasized on the need of public participation, noting that Busia County is a sleeping giant in terms of economy and that it is high time the economy is unlocked.