BY MACHEL WAIKENDA
Last week, six more locomotives that will be used to lay the rails for the country’s new railway line arrived at the port of Mombasa. This has set the ball rolling for more and timely progress to be made in the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway which will improve our human and cargo transportation.
This is just but some of the progress that the Jubilee administration is making in the country even as we continue being hard on President Uhuru Kenyatta. While we have a right to express ourselves, it is important that we do this in the right context.
It is one thing to think that we can snap our fingers and see the country transform instantly and another to critically look at where we have been and the strides we have made. The latter helps us appreciate what the government has done and we can then give our input on what more we want to see.
We are hearing a lot of complaints about the state of the economy but most of this noise is just politically motivated and lacking in substance. Yes, as part of the global economy, we are facing a slowdown in economic growth but our economy has remained resilient and sound.
Indeed, the government has maintained economic growth about 5 percent – which is below target but good. Inflation in the country has remained below 7 percent which is good given that we were 4 years ago at 19 percent.
Yes, a lot still needs to be done but we have to also objectively look at what has been done. An economy cannot grow without heavy investment in infrastructure and gladly, from where I sit, the President has led the government well on this front.
The SGR is 55 percent done and it is now clear that it will extend further from Nairobi to Naivasha where there are plans to put up and Industrial Park. In addition, the new container terminal in Mombasa will be ready by next year February making the SGR project a complete package.
Anyone who has been to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will agree that the upgrade of making it a modern hub is impressive. The Isiolo Airport is also almost complete and will change the fortunes of the northern frontier when complete.
We are still building roads as we have seen with the commencement of an additional 10,000 KM tarmacked road construction this month. After more than 50 years of lip-service from the previous governments, the construction of the Mwatate to Taveta road has been kicked off by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
Energy is a key component of economic development and growth and the Jubilee administration has ensured that there is unending progress in this area. In 2013, we had 1,660 megawatts of power and the government has added 600 megawatts of clean energy and for the first time we have a margin of reserve energy.
When Uhuru became President, the country has 2,200km of transmission lines and we have seen this grown to 2,900km. As a result, 20,540 schools are connected to power as compared to 8,000 in 2013. The government expects to connect the remaining 1,150 schools by the end of this month.
In addition there were 2.3 million customers connected to power before Jubilee and this has grown to 4.1 million in the last two years. This means that the Kenyans with access to power is now about 50 percent compared to 32 percent before 2013 with Jubilee targeting to put have place 75 percent of Kenya connected to power by 2017.
As a way of enhancing service delivery, the government came up with the innovative and award-winning Huduma Centre concept. Since the Jubilee administration took over, it has built more than 40 Huduma Centres across the country and serving more than 5 millions of Kenyans who previously would have had to travel long distances to receive such service.
The government has also put in place measures to ensure that more women and youth are empowered economically. As a result, over 80,000 businesses been have registered by Youth, Women and persons with disability since 2013. Over 30,000 of them have received business from Government in last year totalling over 30 billion shillings.
The government continues to invest in the education of its young generation. The budget for free primary education was Sh8.96 billion in 2012/2013, and this has risen to Sh14.1b in the current financial year. Similarly, the budget for secondary school education was Sh19.2 billion in 2012/2013 rising to Sh32.5b this year.
Agriculture has not been left behind. In September we did the first harvest from the Galana irrigation scheme which is supposed to contribute to the country’s food security. Farmers in the maize, wheat, tea, coffee and sugarcane sectors are also getting subsidized fertilizer which in turn is increasing production.
We cannot forget that the Jubilee Administration has faithfully supported the complementation of the Constitution by not only ensuring counties functions but also that all institutions are properly empowered to fulfil their mandate.
We have see 10 hospitals get new and modern equipment against the Jubilee target of 94, with a lot of progress made just months into the initiative. The number of dialysis machines in Kenya has grown from 40 to 245 distributed countrywide.
I am sure that I have missed on some of the achievements so far. But the point is that we can sit back and continue criticizing the government for political reasons or we can join hands with the government and build on this progress.
(The writer is a political and communications consultant)