Cabinet approves NYS Bill 2018, affordable housing guidelines

Written By: PSCU
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Cabinet has Thursday approved a memorandum from the Ministry of Youth and Public Service seeking to submit the National Youth Service Bill 2018 to the National Assembly.

The National Youth Service Bill, 2018 contains a raft of measures aimed at strengthening the operations and management of NYS among them the transformation of the department into a body corporate.

Further, the Bill seeks to align NYS to aspirations of the Government’s Big 4 Agenda as well as Kenya’s Vision 2030 development blueprint. It also aims at fixing the weaknesses identified in its structure which are a hindrance to the achievement of the agency’s mandate by addressing loopholes in the governance and monitoring aspects so as to curb corruption and other related malpractices.

At the meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi and attended by Deputy President William Ruto, the Cabinet also approved guidelines for the implementation of the affordable housing programme, a key plank of the Big 4 Agenda.

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The guidelines address aspects such as financing, costing and design of the houses to ensure quality and affordability as well as establishment of a level playing field for both public and private sector investors.

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In the same sitting, Cabinet was briefed by the Ministry of Education on the level of preparedness for the efficient delivery of the forthcoming national exams covering both KCPE and KCSE by the various line agencies.

Among the measures, are interventions to ensure candidates with special needs are provided with adapted examination materials such large print exam papers for the partially blind and brailed exam papers for the totally blind.

Cabinet further approved the establishment of the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) by merging the Export Promotion Council (EPC) and the Brand Kenya Board.

The establishment of KEPROBA is in line with an earlier Presidential directive on the key objective of the integrated National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy (NEDPS) which the Government launched mid this year, and aims at growing Kenya’s exports at an average rate of 25 percent per annum.

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KEPROBA will be a one-stop shop for all trade promotion and branding activities covering local as well as regional and international engagements so as to eliminate duplication and hence create a uniform image of Kenya.

Further, Cabinet approved a Memorandum by National Treasury for the set up of a framework for Issuance of Government Support  Measures which include Letters of Support, Letters of Comfort, Undertakings and Project-Based Guarantees. The policy framework is aimed at standardising meaning, treatment and forms of Government Support Measures.

The framework will also establish a clear and predictable process for the management of Government project-linked financial risks and liabilities while at the same time improving confidence in decision making as well as eliminating ambiguity in the application and issuance process.

The new measures are aimed at promoting the deployment of Private Public Partnerships as a preferred approach in the financing and delivery of projects in the country. This will go a long way in the implementation of key projects off-budget in line with the President’s recent pronouncements.

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Cabinet was further informed that His Excellency the President will lead a strong delegation of horticultural farmers and traders to China in November this year for the 1st Shanghai Import Expo during which a number of trade deals will be negotiated and sealed.

Among the agreements expected to be signed at the Expo is the Sanitary and Phytosanitary deal between Kenya and China that will open doors for over 40 percent of Kenya’s fresh produce including avocado, mangoes and cashew nuts into the expansive Chinese market.

The Agreement will also allow for the export of stevia, a sweetener largely grown in the Rift Valley, into the Chinese market.

Another expected outcome of the President’s visit to Shanghai will be the signing of an MOU for the establishment of a trade negotiation working group whose mandate will be to negotiate trade tariffs especially on Kenya’s tea and coffee exports to China as well as explore additional market for the country’s cash crops.

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