𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝟔𝐭𝐡 𝐍𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑.
The National Assembly Committee on Blue Economy, Water and Irrigation led by Hon. David Bowen (Marakwet East) met with two of the three State Departments under its purview to consider the Supplementary Budget Estimates 1 FY 2023/24.
The Committee met the Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Mr. Zachary Njeru, Principal Secretary for Irrigation, Mr. Ephantus Kimotho and Principal Secretary for Blue Economy and Fisheries Ms. Betsy Njagi.
They acknowledged the changes in the Supplementary Estimates, including a suggested decrease in allocation for the State Department for Irrigation by 100 million and the State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries by 647 million. These adjustments were attributed to the President’s directive to implement austerity measures.
However, Committee members expressed concern about the unprecedented revision of the Appropriations-in-Aid (AIA) figures, occurring within the first four months of the financial year. The substantial increase from 600 million to 1.6 billion raised questions regarding the accuracy of Ministries’ initial AIA submissions.
Members sought comprehensive project information, specific timelines, and a clear understanding of the objectives underpinning these projects. They emphasized the significance of smallholder irrigation in enhancing food security and highlighted the potential of semi-arid regions to become vital food production areas in the nation.
Additionally, they requested the procurement of drilling equipment to facilitate the creation of boreholes in the region, ultimately improving the residents’ quality of life.
The Committee also communicated that they had initiated an investigation into the Soin-Koru dam project. This decision was prompted by disparities between the documented project details and the observed conditions on-site during a fact-finding mission conducted the previous week.
Hon. Bowen urged the State Department to carry out CSR activities to help the residents living near the projects.
“The Kenya Seed Company has been instrumental in empowering local farmers, resulting in remarkable agricultural yields. It is imperative to consider further supporting these farmers by providing them with essential equipment to enhance farming practices in the region,” said Hon. Bowen.
“During our visit to the Pekerra Irrigation Scheme, we observed that the residents were utilizing contaminated water sources. There is an urgent need to ensure they have access to clean and safe water. It is recommended to expedite the drilling of a borehole to address this critical issue.” he said.
PS Kimotho assured the Committee that everything deliberated will be considered and measures taken.
PS Njagi emphasized to the committee the imperative need for funding the state department. She highlighted that the Blue Economy possesses the capacity to not only transform our economy but also bring about a significant positive change in the livelihoods of the coastal communities.