September 21, 2020

County Gives Ultimatum on Sand Harvesting

The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Finance and Economic Planning Andrew Kubo. Image (Courtesy)

The Coast Newspaper Correspondent

Email: thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Sand harvesting stakeholders in Taita Taveta county have until 30th June 2020 to register themselves into Sacco which is aimed at regulating the sector.

Speaking in Voi town after a consultative meeting the stakeholders recently, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Finance and Economic Planning Andrew Kubo observed that the sector had a big potential in contributing more than shillings 50 Million as revenue hence need to regulate the exercise.

“The sector is not regulated and that is why it is open to abuse by anyone including people from outside this county. One of the resolutions we have come up with is to make sure you are registered into a Sacco before the end of this financial year.” Kubo said.

He at the same time promised to organize capacity building initiatives, with the relevant institutions both at the national and county level to the sand harvesters so as to equip them on sustainable and environment friendly sand harvesting practices.

Kubo lamented that apart from losing the much needed revenue, the county was also experiencing environmental degradation  as a result to this unregulated exercise.

Addressing the media at the same time, the County Chief Officer (CCO) for Finance and Economic Planning Leonard Langat asked members to embrace the idea noting that the government would consider giving back a 5% of the total revenue collected from sand harvesting, back to the Sacco as a motivation to help them address challenges they face including lack of machineries  for instance stone crashers .

“With this idea, you will be emulating what the boda boda sector has done and now their Sacco gets back 5% of all the revenue collected from that sector.’ Promised Langat.

Locals and Taita Taveta county officials stand on a pile of sand. Image (courtesy)

He promised to donate counter books to the registered Sand harvesting groups in order to enhance  them in record keeping of the sand they sale on daily basis.

“Such records would be in turn  be used to counter check with the receipts issued by Revenue collectors, as one of the ways of curbing collusion between the transporters and the County officials.” Pointed out the CCO.

Kaloleni Member of County Assembly (MCA) Omar Ahmed said the house committee in charge of Environment, Mining and Natural Resources had already tabled in the house the Report on the Sand harvesting amendment act which is set to be adopted this week.

Omar noted that once the house approved the report, The ban on sand harvesting will be lifted.

The minister and his  team later  visited a site along Voi River at Msambweni area which has been adversely damaged by illegal sand harvesting.

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja issued the ban of sand harvesting along River Voi on December 2019 following floods which destroyed households following the burst of River-Voi banks.

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