President William Ruto Tuesday morning presided over a Cabinet meeting at the Kakamega State Lodge.
The session marked the Administration’s second Cabinet meeting held outside the nation’s capital.
The convening of this meeting, as part of His Excellency’s ongoing working tour of the western region, underscores the Administration’s steadfast commitment to lead an open, accessible, and accountable Government in keeping with our national values and principles of governance.
The meeting took stock of the programmes and projects that the Administration is implementing within the Western Kenya Region and throughout the Republic. The meeting was also apprised of the progress being made in the implementation of the reforms sanctioned by Cabinet on the turnaround of the country’s sugar sub-sector, which is the backbone of the Western Kenya economy.
In keeping with the Administration’s vision of steering a national renewal through economic renaissance, the Government remains committed to establishing an enabling environment in which private enterprises can thrive. A central facet of this endeavour encompasses the creation of a secure and stable business environment. In that regard, Cabinet was briefed on the state of national security with a focus on Kenya’s homeland security.
The nation’s apex policy-making body welcomed with satisfaction the outcome of the security operation within the North Rift counties, which has resulted in the silencing of guns in the region after nearly five decades of failed attempts.
This development marks a critical milestone in the quest to secure enduring peace, end cattle rustling, and create lasting security within the counties of: Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet. Cabinet also noted the progress being made in the war against illicit alcohol, narcotic drugs, and psychotropic substances.
The meeting also observed that climate change continues to pose an existential threat to the future security and stability of the country; fueled by scarcity of pasture, water, and other natural resources. Consequently, Cabinet directed that going forward Climate Change shall form part of all national security strategic planning and programmes.
In affirmation of Kenya’s global leadership in Climate Change, Cabinet noted that the Africa Climate Summit set to be hosted in Nairobi had attracted immense global interest. The Summit, to be held from 4th September to 6th September 2023, will be graced by over two dozen Heads of State and Government, high-level representatives of development partners and international institutions, as well as subject experts; with the number of delegates expected to be about 30,000.
High cost of living
In leading the nation towards food security, the meeting welcomed the continued reduction in the cost of food. The relief in household spending on food was attributed to crop maturity and harvests in the South Rift, Nyanza, Central, Eastern, and Coast Regions. Building on this remarkable progress, Cabinet authorized the acquisition of mobile dryers to aid in the post-harvest management of this year’s bumper harvest.
To further enhance price discovery of agricultural produce, Cabinet also sanctioned the expedited implementation of the Warehouse Receipting System.
Additionally, and in keeping with the imperative to realize Food Security; Cabinet authorized the operationalization of the newly promulgated Strategic Food Reserve Regulations, 2023.
Under the framework, the Government will purchase at least 1 Million bags of maize to be maintained as part of our nation’s Strategic Food Reserve. The off-take price for the year 2023 crop will be announced in due course by the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development, in consultation with all stakeholders as outlined in the Regulations.
As the nation approaches the onset of the short rains, and in an effort to realize higher yields, Cabinet approved the framework for enhanced production and distribution of certified seeds. The meeting also approved the partnership between the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and County Governments for “Last Mile” distribution of subsidized Government fertilizer that is retailing at Ksh. 2,500.00. Under this framework, County Governments will provide grassroots supply outlets that are easily accessible to all registered farmers.
To ensure that no farmer is left behind, Cabinet additionally ratified the ongoing registration of farmers and called on all farmers who had not been enumerated under the first wave to register at their earliest opportunity so as to benefit from this seminal State Programme.
Universal Health Coverage
In honour of the Administration’s pledge to accelerate Kenya’s attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as set out within the Administration’s plan for a healthier nation espoused under the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), Cabinet considered and approved crucial Bills that promote healthcare, for transmission to Parliament.
They are as follows: I. The Primary Health Care Bill, 2023; II. The Digital Health Bill, 2023; III. The Facility Improvement Financing Bill, 2023; and IV. The Social Health Insurance Bill, 2023.
“These bills usher in a paradigm in the legal and institutional framework for healthcare in Kenya by repealing the current National Health Insurance Fund and establishing in its place the following funds: Primary Healthcare Fund; Social Health Insurance Fund; and Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund” reads the Cabinet dispatch.
On the other hand, the Digital Health Bill addresses the existing legal and regulatory gaps in the framework for the e-Health ecosystem and its data lifecycle; enabling the development of standards towards the provision of m-health, telemedicine, and e-learning in healthcare.
This new architecture is expected to provide a framework for improved health outcomes and financial protection of families in fidelity to the State’s solemn duty to guarantee the health and welfare of all its citizens.
The Cabinet regretted the total electrical grid outage that led to a nationwide blackout on Saturday last week. Cabinet consequently directed the review of the power distribution system in the country, to ensure that the unfortunate occurrence shall not recur.
As set out in the Administration’s digital transformation agenda, Cabinet was updated on the progress being made to lead Kenya towards realizing 100% automation of all Government Services.
The nation’s top policy-making organ noted that the mobilization of revenue through a single payment platform for all Government payments has led to a remarkable increase in revenue while also dramatically improving the service experience for users.
The meeting reiterated that the push to realize the automation of all government services would be a central feature of the Administration’s actions as it implements its plan for Kenya, espoused as the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).