The department has set up two cross- border trade committees to promote inter-border trading by among other roles resolving disputes. Seven information centres have been set up in the County to provide traders with the requisite trade information to facilitate business networks. However, the department is experiencing numerous challenges that continue to hamper full exploitation of the County’s potential in tourism and trade. Among the key challenges are, disconnect between the trade department and other supporting departments like Finance. Additionally, unfair competition by the traders continue to hinder trading and commerce in the County owing to the lack of a legal framework to operationalized trade activities and inadequate staff level. The overall objective of the department is to promote self-reliance amongst the youth, enhancement of business, job and wealth creation and diversification. The women entrepreneurs will be given considerable emphasis. To achieve the strategic objectives, the department intends to oversee the refurbishment and modernization of infrastructure including markets and exhibition centers. Markets that were built under the economic stimulus program were eventually handed to the county. We are in the process of handing them over to elected market committees. To address the issue of unfair competition the department has continued to provide businessmen with the requisite skills including entrepreneurial training, benchmarking visits and seminars, workshops and fairs. This facilitates traders’ ability to access affordable credit to boost their resource base. The department will revive industries especially those that make use of locally produced agricultural and livestock products by setting up cottage industries, development of tourist sites and promotion of cross border trade. Two projects were undertaken during the year. These were Mulwanda Ginnery and Marenga fish processing plant upgrade. Further, the department will guide in setting up of new societies and nurture the already existing ones with an aim of revamping the cooperative movement as a vehicle to mobilize funds.
To undertake these programmes, the 2015/16- 2017/18 MTEF estimates for the sector are estimated to be Ksh 317,881,285. For the FY 2015/16, Khs. 100,834,666 has been set aside for the sector. For 2016/17 and 2017/18 the projections are Ksh. 105,876,399 and Ksh. 111,170,219, respectively.
• To facilitate the implementation of programs within the department
• To promote market access and encourage export business
• To enhance the cooperative movement and add value to local produce for higher returns,
• To market the County of Busia beyond its borders
- Business Advisory Centers have been launched to promote trade initiatives in the County.
- A cooperative enterprise fund has been established to offer loans at a mainimal interest rate to small cooperative initiatives. This has seen the formation of new cooperatives in the county.
- A mapping exercise supported by the Rural Tourism Network was done. This will place some of the tourist sites in the county on the map of Kenya and promote tourism related activities in the county.
A good working relationship between the Executive and County Assembly has enabled the two arms of government to put in place pro-people legislations that are instrumental in the develoment agenda of the county. Among them are:-
-The Cooperative Enterprise Fund Act.
-The Agricultural Development Fund Act.
-The Flags, Emblem and Symbols Act.
-The Education Support Program Act.
-The Ward Development Fund Act.
-The Finance Act.
Other laws that are currently being worked on are: The Public Participation Bill, The Drug and Alcohol Bill, Waste and Sanitation Bill among others.
- Development of modern markets to serve as auction centers for various farm products and for management of post-harvest wastage
- Development of modern supermarkets and shopping malls with modern facilities
- Export of weaving and pottery products to counties like Mombasa and Nairobi and, also sale to the international markets
- Sale of agricultural produce e.g. cassava, fish, maize, fruits and vegetables to feed the growing population that provides a ready market
- An opportunity for a strategic partner to invest into Farida Microfinance and convert it into a commercial bank
- Establishment of a dairy products processing firm in the county
- Establishment of Building society, village bank and setting up of adequate private insurance companies
- Availability of two ports, one at Sio-port and Bunyala, respectively
- One unutilized airstrip (owing to its poor condition) to serve as a potential tourism infrastructure upon being upgraded
- Proximity to Kisumu International airport
- Over seventy licensed cyber cafes and over six major financial institutions
- Expansive mobile network coverage
- 11 Kms of rail serving Busia and Uganda borders
- Diverse Busia County cultural groups and festivals
- Establishment of large and small scale high quality eco-lodges & destination resorts and other tourism related accommodation