Uhuru bets on four key sectors to boost growth

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses Kenyans during Jamhuri Day celebrations at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Dec 12, 2017. Photo | jeff angote | nmg
President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses Kenyans during Jamhuri Day celebrations at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Dec 12, 2017. Photo | jeff angote | nmg 

President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday said his administration will pay special attention to four key sectors he believes will drive Kenya’s economic agenda during his second term in office.

The youth, he said, will be at the centre of the four pillars plan, dubbed the ‘Big Four’, that includes food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare.

Mr Kenyatta said growth in the key sectors will ride on the foundation laid in his first term in sectors such as transport, electricity distribution, education and ICT.

“I believe in you. You are my partners. And this is why my Big Four plan is centred on you. You will drive the big shift from politics to prosperity,” he told Kenya’s youthful population at Nairobi’s Kasarani Sports Complex during celebrations to mark the 54th Jamhuri Day.

Mr Kenyatta gave a detailed breakdown of what his administration intends to do to achieve the set goals while warning that selfishness and corruption will not be tolerated.

Measures taken to boost the manufacturing industry include a directive that the disciplined forces procure all boots, leather products and textiles from local manufacturers beginning the 2018/19 financial year.

The decision, intended to grow the leather industry, will also have hides and skins processed locally.

The President also directed that Kenyan coffee, tea, fruit and vegetables be processed locally to increase their value in foreign markets.

“This will create more value for Kenyan produce and create employment, which will in turn transform the lives of our people from that of hardship and want, to new lives of greater comfort and well-being,” he said.

The goal is to create an additional 1,000 small and medium enterprises focused on manufacturing through capital support.

On the blue economy, Mr Kenyatta directed the ministries of Defence and Fisheries to intercept all illegal fishing vessels and suspend licences of all international trawlers operating in Kenya’s waters until they comply with requirements for local input.

“These boats must land their catches in Kenya. Packaging fish for export must be done in Kenya by Kenyans,” he said in a speech delivered to a handful of Kenyans that turned up at the stadium for the fete.

He explained that the intention was to grow the blue economy seven-fold from the current 2,500 metric tonnes of fish processed annually to 18,000 metric tonnes.

“This means that young people from Migingo to Mbita, from Kiunga to Vanga, and from Faza to Chale, will find jobs and reliable incomes as fishermen, as fishmongers, as processors, as wholesalers and retailers.  We will also expand our shipping industry in order to maximize on our maritime opportunities,” he said. Mr Kenyatta said his administration will work on mechanisms to bring down the cost of mortgages with intention of having 500,000 more Kenyans own homes by 2022.

Under the Big Four plan, the government guarantees to buy cotton from local farmers who grow the crop. It will also give incentives to investors to build more modern ginneries and textile manufacturing plants.

On universal healthcare, the President said the government will make major policy and administrative reforms in the medical sector, to ensure everyone has access to quality and affordable medical cover by 2022.