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Garissa, September 6, 2007

President Mwai Kibaki views a Somali Boran beef cattle when he officiated the 2007 Garissa Show, North Eastern.

Government targets Kshs 12 b for development in N. Eastern

The Government has targeted Kshs 12 billion for development programmes to be implemented in the North Eastern province, President Mwai Kibaki has said.

Speaking when he officially opened the North Eastern Agricultural Society of Kenya Show at the Garissa Baraza Park, President Kibaki assured residents of North Eastern province of his Government's commitment to providing more resources to further the development of the province.

He emphasized that the Government has taken deliberate measures to ensure that the development potential of the North Eastern region is harnessed fully to benefit the people and create employment for young people in the province.

"This is the reason why in the year 2005 we announced a special economic development initiative for this region," President Kibaki said.

In this regard, the President reiterated that elections will be held at the end of the year hence wananchi should not expend all their energies on politics at the expense of development.

President Kibaki pointed out that the Government is set to invest 4.2 billion shillings over the next four years on increasing farmers' knowledge and productivity through the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme.

He said the Kshs 5.2 billion Arid Lands Resources Management Programme, the Kshs 1.8 billion North Eastern Pastoralist Development Programme and the Kshs 708 million Kenya Arid and Semi-Arid Areas Programme are being implemented by the Government to reduce food insecurity and increase wealth and incomes in the province.

"These programmes are being augmented by substantial investments in physical infrastructure development in this province," the Head of State said.

The President observed that in the last four years the Government constructed 390 boreholes at cost of over 450 million shillings, 30 rural water and sanitation projects and 34 water pans in various parts of the province.

On air transport linkages between the province, the rest of the country, and the outside world, President Kibaki said the Government has completed the first phase of converting the Wajir Military Airport into a dual-purpose facility that will support both civilian and military services.

Said President Kibaki: "These investments in infrastructure will enable better transportation of both people and goods, while also ensuring increased productivity and prosperity of the people in this region."

Saying livestock production is the most important contributor to food security, incomes and wealth creation in the province, the President noted that during the past two years, livestock producers in the province earned well over 1.8 billion shillings from livestock sales in local and overseas markets.

In this regard, President Kibaki said the Government has made available 75 million shillings for the construction of an abattoir in Garissa that will commence in October this year.

In addition, the President said the Government will be relocating the Wajir slaughterhouse to a new site a cost of 34 million shillings.

"Furthermore, the re-opening of the Kenya Meat Commission factories in Athi River and Mombasa last year has expanded market opportunities for livestock producers in this region," President Kibaki said.

To increase local earnings and employment from hides and skins in the North Eastern Province, President Kibaki said his Government has imposed a tax of 40 percent on the export of raw hides and skins to encourage local processing of hides and skins into leather and leather products.

He said the Government is also addressing the challenge posed by livestock diseases and epidemics by establishing a disease free zone in the province that will facilitate effective disease surveillance and control programmes.

"This will ensure disease free livestock that can find ready markets both locally and abroad. However, the successful establishment of disease free zones requires full cooperation from the local communities," President Kibaki said.

President Kibaki once again reassured wananchi in North Eastern Province that his Government will continue to accord priority to addressing challenges faced by communities and regions that were neglected in the past.

He said the province, like many of the arid and semi-arid parts of the country, suffered from lack of adequate investments in infrastructure and social services hence the determination by his Government to implement a variety of measures to improve the well-being of the people in the region.

Apart from national programmes such as the Constituency Development Fund, Local Authorities Transfer Fund, and Free Primary Education, the President said his Government has developed a special programme aimed at accelerating the development of the region.

In addition, President Kibaki said his Government is paying special attention to the education of children in the region and has taken into consideration the nomadic way of life in providing additional resources for the construction of boarding primary and secondary schools.

"We are also being mindful of the predominantly Islamic culture in this region by separating boys' schools from girls' schools," the Head of State said.

He said the Government is also implementing a special programme to equip secondary schools in the region with solar generators and thereby enhance the quality of the learning environment, adding that Islamic Religious Education has also been incorporated in the schools curriculum in order to give the children a solid religious foundation.

In this connection, the President expressed confidence that the steps his Government is taking are steadily ensuring that Islamic principles are respected and supported as the children, both boys and girls, receive an education that will benefit them now and for the rest of their lives.

Present were Ministers Mahmoud Mohammed, Joseph Munyao, John Michuki, Morris Dzoro and Ali Chirau Mwakwere, several Assistant Ministers, members of parliament and other leaders from the region.


©2007 State House, Nairobi Kenya