KAKAMEGA, Kenya–President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked governors to prudently utilize resources allocated to the devolved units to ensure Kenyans receive efficient and effective services.
The President emphasized that all the revenue collected at the national and county government levels through taxation must be put into proper use, saying the move will bolster achievement of the Big Four Agenda.
President Kenyatta said corruption, lethargy and sloth in the two tiers of government will not be tolerated and those engaging in the vices will have to carry their own cross.
“We must, therefore, be prudent: every cent of revenue collected must return maximum impact on the welfare of taxpayers,” said President Kenyatta during the opening of the 5th Devolution Conference at Kakamega High School, today.
President Kenyatta, through live televised address from State House, Nairobi, expressed the need to streamline inter-governmental relations so that both the national and county tiers of governance can exist and thrive beyond merely debating matters of resource allocation.
The President called on the two levels of governance to focus more on the strategic issues of development that matter most to the people.
There is also need to strengthen the framework of cooperation and coordination between the national and county governments and lift the mutual partnership above partisan and transactional engagements, said the President.
“The time for full cooperation with each other is now. This is important to ensure we succeed in executing the Big Four Agenda,” he said
President Kenyatta urged leaders to bring down political temperatures and intrigues so that the country can concentrate on wealth creation and prosperity.
“Left unchecked, our political intrigues can grow into a big tree under whose shade nothing can take root. We must all agree there will be a season for politics, but that season is not with us now,” said President Kenyatta.
He added: “It is now time to work to create wealth and prosperity for our people.”
The President reminded leaders that Kenyans are tired of political bickering, saying they want to see both levels of government working together and fully accepting their interdependence.
“There is absolutely no time to waste: Kenyans want to see results, not recrimination; they want integrity, not corruption; and they want prudence, not profligacy,” he said.
He called on leaders to engage on issues without poisoning the political environment so that the country can continue on the trajectory of progress.
Turning to the Big Four Agenda, President Kenyatta said its conceptualization was in appreciation of the need to accelerate the achievement of Vision 2030.
For that to happen, said President Kenyatta, it became necessary to take a new approach to the country’s medium-term planning and focus more on those issues that would have greater impact on the well being of all Kenyans.
He told the county bosses that working with the national government to deliver on the Big Four Agenda will be beneficial for each one of them as individual governors and the people they represent–both in the short and long terms.
The Big four agenda, which focuses on manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security, is aimed at boosting Kenya’s development , create wealth and employment for the youth.
“Our focus is on those sectors whose value chains will provide opportunities for our people and, therefore, create more jobs,” said President Kenyatta
The Head of State talked of his recent and highly successful visit in London where he persuaded investors in agro-processing and value addition in tea and coffee to set shop in Kenya for the benefit of the local farming community.
During the London visit, President Kenyatta also sought to establish new opportunities for Kenya’s blue economy by seeking partnerships with countries like Canada and the United Kingdom.
President Kenyatta said the expected opportunities can only be achieved when Kenyans come together to create an environment for investment to take root.
He asked county governments to harmonize fees and levies relating to businesses, adding that the national government had waived or simplified levies that hinder growth of small businesses.
The President also asked the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender to avail space in the Huduma Centres for any county government that wished to bring under one roof its operations for issuing business permits and physical planning approvals.
“This will make life easier for our people. You will be pleased to know that the County Government of Nairobi will be the first to put this offer on trial,” said the President
On agriculture, President Kenyatta said there is need to protect farmers and give them the support they need to make an honest living off their land.
“The misguided preoccupation with sugar, maize, and fertilizer imports must come to an end. Let us work together on this,” said the President.
On Health, he said , the Government remains focused to give every family access to affordable healthcare by 2022 adding that there is need to focus attention on how to finance this dream and restructuring all the institutions critical to its success.
The President directed the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to assign more enrolment officers to the Counties in an effort towards Universal Healthcare. He also directed the State department of Interior and Social Protection to support in the NHIF enrolment.
He called on county governments to ensure fiscal discipline and proper record keeping over resources allocated to Health . All payments to the NHIF from the Counties should be complete by July 31, said the president.