His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta led Kenyans on 12th December 2017 in celebrating the 54th Jamhuri Day, the first after his swearing in for his second term in office. While addressing the nation, the Head of State said he is willing to engage with all Kenyans – including leaders of the opposition in focusing the nation on economic transformation. He spelt out the big four-pillars of his vision for economic growth, i.e., food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare.
The following are some notable highlights of his speech:
- In boosting the manufacturing sector, the President informed that he would focus on the four sub-sectors namely the blue economy, agro-processing, leather, and textiles. Among other things, the president stated that his administration would give incentives to investors to establish more ginneries and textile manufacturing plants.
- The president noted that Kenya is one of the leading producers of high-quality Arabica coffee yet returns from the end product of coffee production are minimal. As part of the big four plan, the President said that Country’s tea, coffee, meat, fruits, and vegetable would be processed in Kenya.
- To give manufacturing the best chance of growth, the Government has cut the cost of off-peak power to the heavy industry by half. The Government will also review work permits regime and encourage expatriates whose skills support the big four pillars.
- The Government will create additional 1000 SMEs focused on manufacturing, who will have access to affordable capital, skills, and market.
- In the next five years, the Government will create at least 500,000 homeowners through among other things raising low-cost funds from the private and public sector for investment in large-scale housing construction.
- The Government will also make major policy and administrative reforms in the medical sector to ensure that Kenyan’s access quality and affordable medical cover by 2022.
- The Government will continue to encourage and facilitate large-scale commercial agriculture to diversify the Country staples through irrigation and other technologies. In this regard, it will protect its water towers, and small-scale farmers will receive better extension services and market access. Subsidies will also be redesigned to improve food yields and production quality.
- With the private sector, the Government will work on challenges of distribution, waste, storage, and value addition.
- The Head of State further informed that the Ministries of Agriculture and Irrigation would in due course publish terms and conditions by which commercial farmers will be able to lease idle agricultural land owned by the Government.
The president further noted that implementation of the Big Four requires brave steps to lower the cost of doing business across the country. He informed that in the last four years Kenya made progress whereby it cut the cost of doing business by modernizing and expanding its infrastructure. “We improved the ease of doing business so successfully that we jumped from number 136 in the world to 80th. We will build on this rapid progress by taking measures such as cutting the numbers and costs of permits and licenses at both national and county levels”, he said.