The county’s second International Investment Conference to be officiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday will attract investors locally and from United Arab Emirates, India, China, Qatar, and Israel among other countries.
In an interview with The Standard on Sunday, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua said he had signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with several local and international investors.
“The investors we are talking about have already declared they are ready to begin their investments as soon as possible and we have promised them a conducive environment,” said Dr Mutua.
He said that his county government had set up and gazetted Machakos Investment and Promotion Board (MIPB) that will encourage businesses and investments in the county.
“We have also formed the Machakos Business Bureau, a one stop shop for speedy approval of business permits and licences to ensure investors do not waste valueable time before they start up,” he said.
The Governor said his government had imported 140 specialised police vehicles set to arrive this month to enhance security, and enable investors operate their business freely.
“We want to make sure investors feel more secure. We have ordered 500 CCTVs that will help monitor security,” he said.
Last week, Mutua launched Machakos County Agricultural Subsidy Programme in what he explained marked a departure from the torments of hunger and confusion that have plagued the people of Machakos for many years.
“It is indeed a shame for any leader to sleep soundly while a child lies awake with an empty stomach. In Machakos, we have started changing that because it is our duty to ensure a comprehensive food security programme,” he said.
He said the county had purchased 40 tractors that will be increased to 120 in the subsequent financial years to plough farms free of charge. “Under the Agricultural Subsidy Programme, farmers will get free seed and subsidised fertilizer to support their planting. We are employing 40 extension officers and 40 animal health assistants to train farmers on modern farming techniques and desirable crops to plant,” said the county boss.
Already, the Governor has distributed part of two million chicks to youth and women residents of Machakos and training on poultry care is ongoing.
“My Government will purchase the grown kienyeji (local) chicken and eggs from the youths and market them. We have already identified markets in Kenya, East African region, India and China,” said the Governor.
In the a conference early in the year, 3,000 investors from within and outside the country pledged to invest more than Sh60 billion on 4000 acres. The plan according to the governor is to create a ‘New Machakos City’ that will inject new energy to Machakos and provide opportunity for ultra-modern Central Business District (CBD) and a well-thought out and coordinated transport system.“We want to have a university and medical zone in the city because we want to have the best learning institutions and referral research hospitals and medical centres that are the best in the continent,” he added.
Mutua said he wants to turn Machakos into the premier investment zone. “We have vowed that in the new Machakos, we will facilitate, not frustrate business because we want to achieve high financial growth in a short period of time,” he asserted. However, the Machakos governor is facing an onslaught mounted by his political rivals under the command of the outspoken senator Johnstone Muthama.
The senator and a group of county ward representatives are accusing the governor of not living up to his promise of rescuing the county from grinding poverty.
Muthama has previously accused Mutua of building castles in the air. But the local MPs in support of the governor warned that political divisions would only affect development in the county.
“When we engage in meaningless fights, we lose out on so many things that would have otherwise moved us forward,” said Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka.
Francis Mwangangi, MP Yatta, said the move by the governor to invite investors to the region was in the best interest of the county and urged everyone to support him.
“We support the vision for a new modern Machakos City, we are assured that our youths will get employment.” said Mwangangi.
Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka and his Masinga MP counterpart Itwiku Mbai said the Governor’s leadership had already created a conducive environment for investors.
While recently launching Machakos Entertainment Center for Film, Media, Music and the Arts and unveiling its board members, Mutua said his sight was focused on bigger things and would not be distracted by rivals.