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Uhuru unveils grand plan for next five years

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday outlined a grand economic plan to be rolled out in the next five years of his second and final term.

The plan, summarised in his speech, dwells on issues such as economic growth, health, education and social services, youth unemployment, corruption, land policy, governance and public service reforms.

He also gave detailed policy prescriptions.

President Kenyatta’s speech, which he delivered after his swearing-in at the Kasarani Stadium, comes against the backdrop of a highly divisive nation and worrying reports of high prices of basic commodities.

HEALTH
He promised that his administration will adopt new tactics to tackle joblessness, poor healthcare and disunity brought about by a long electioneering period.

While pledging to be the President of all, including those who did not vote for him, Mr Kenyatta stated proposals touching on all facets of national life of the more than 40 million Kenyans.

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On health, more Kenyans will now be incorporated into the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

“Over the next five years, my administration will target 100 per cent universal healthcare coverage for all households. My administration will ensure that 13 million Kenyans and their dependants are beneficiaries of this scheme.

“This vision will be driven by a complete reconfiguration of the National Hospital Insurance Fund and reform of the laws governing private insurance companies,” he said.

HOUSING
Civil servants, as well as non-government employees, can, from next year, buy houses under a programme that will realise close to 500,000 new homeowners in the next five years.

Funds for the project, according to the President, will be sourced from both the government and the private sector in a move aimed at reducing the cost of housing, which has been beyond the reach of most people for a long time.

“Policy and administrative reforms that are targeted at lowering the cost of construction and improving accessibility of affordable mortgages will be given first priority,” he announced.

JOBS
The President was bolder on tackling unemployment. He noted that the young population is a crucial asset for a strong and thriving Kenya.

To create more job opportunities, an additional 1,000 small and medium- scale enterprises will be created in the agro-processing sub-sector.

Other areas the government will focus on are textiles and apparel, leather processing, construction materials, innovation and IT, and mining.

The manufacturing sector, which the President acknowledged is a leading creator of jobs, will have its national budget increased from 9 to 15 per cent.

TARIFFS

To achieve this, beginning this Friday, power tariffs charged to manufacturers will be reduced by 50 per cent between 10 pm and 6 am.

This is in line with the government’s policy of a 24-hour economy.

“The underlying theme will be one of value addition, as well as value and job creation.

"Whether it is our vegetables, tea, coffee, oil or gemstones, our policies and actions as a government over the next five years will be to ensure that as much value, and as many jobs, as possible are created and retained in Kenya,” he said.

The President’s speech indicated that he is alive to the fact that Kenya, and Africa at large, have largely used politics for selfish gains at the expense of the countries’ prosperity.

POLITICS
He was more specific when he said: “No one eats politics.”

“For the last 50 years, we have watched as the Asian economies have risen to wealth, while much of Africa has stagnated.

"The difference is that they used politics to create vibrant economies for their people.

"In our case, we have pursued politics as an end in itself, rather than as a means to economic prosperity. This must end.”

And without fearing any political implications in his last term, the President warned public servants that it will not be “business as usual”.

“I will not allow faceless bureaucrats and functionaries to deny the public the quality of service they deserve from their government,” he cautioned.

CORRUPTION
During the occasion, President Kenyatta talked tough against corruption.

He said legislation to strengthen fiscal discipline and accountability at both the national and county levels will be enacted.

“Every shilling of Kenyans’ taxpayer money must be fully accounted for,” he said.

This year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education candidates will soon know the secondary schools where they will be admitted after their results were released last week.

FOOD SECURITY
Ownership and utilisation of idle but arable land will be revisited to help improve the country’s food security.

“We shall redesign subsidies to the sector to ensure they target improvements in food yields and production quality,” the President said.

He cited his government’s achievements in his first term.

He said devolution, an improved economy and transformed healthcare and education sectors were his major successes.

He wound up his speech by saying the initiatives are achievable only if Kenyans reject “pessimism and cynicism” and, instead, embrace “empowerment that comes from optimism and hope, even when times are tough”.

: nation.co.ke

 

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