Deputy President William Ruto on Friday launched a Sh 7 billion lower Nzoia irrigation project and improvement of flood mitigation structures in Busia County.
Dr Ruto said the project that will put 10,000 acres of land under irrigation is set to benefit 12,000 households as part of the Government’s efforts to ensuring food security in the country.
Addressing wananchi after the launch of the project at Busagwa primary school grounds in Budalangi constituency, Busia County, Dr Ruto said the Government was committed to attaining a lasting solution to the perennial problem of flooding and increase food production in the area.
“We are using almost Sh7 billion in the implementation of the three components to find lasting solution to floods in Busia and Siaya Counties and use water for irrigation to change the fortunes of the people,” said Dr Ruto at that time
However it has now turned out the whole project was ghost project which the government was yet to identify land and conduct a feasibility study.
"William Ruto launched a Sh5 billion irrigation ghost project in Busia,"
Water PS Irungu tells MPs!
— Collins Owino (@Colinsowino) October 2, 2019
Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu yesterday told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee there was no formal communication that Ruto was to launch the project. Mr Irungu said they were still addressing compensation delays for affected families in Busia and Siaya Counties.
The Opiyo Wandayi-led team also heard that the National Land Commission (NLC) and National Irrigation Board (NIB) were not involved in the launch.NIB is the implementing agency while NLC is involved in land acquisition for the project that is meant to end perennial flooding as well as help to increase food production.
— Charles Mark Dienya (@MarkDienya) October 2, 2019
“There was no contact between the DP’s office and my office. Even my project engineer was not there. Compensation is a very sensitive matter, which we must handle well,” said Irungu.
Mr Wandayi said it was unclear why Ruto purported to launch the project without the approval of the implementing agencies.“It is perplexing that there was a public pronouncement by the DP when there was no communication between his office and the Water and Irrigation Ministry, National Irrigation Board and National Land Commission.