, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The government has dispatched Cabinet Secretaries Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution and Planning), Phyllis Kandie (Labour and Social Protection), Dan Kazungu (Mining) and Sicily Kariuki (Public Service) to coastal counties to lead in flood mitigation and food distribution efforts.
The five started their visit to the region on Friday in Kilifi County where they will be visiting persons affected by floods and food shortage.
They will then proceed to Kwale County on Saturday where they will oversee distribution of food to locals.
Their visit comes in a wake of the recent introduction of a Supplementary Bill in Parliament sponsored by the National Treasury which seeks to introduce measures geared towards lowering the cost of basic commodities.
In his weekly address over the weekend, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the Bill will cushion Kenyans against the high cost of living occasioned by the ravaging drought which the government declared a national disaster early February.
“As you know, our region has faced catastrophic drought that has driven food prices up and the President knows that this has made it more and more difficult for Kenyans to feed their families and also to manage their budgets,” Esipisu said.
The Supplementary Bill, he said will add to measures put in place by the government to bring down the cost of maize by allowing duty free importation of white maize for a period of four months as the drought situation is monitored.
CS Kiunjuri in January had warned that 11 counties would face an acute drought situation in subsequent months after chairing an inter-ministerial meeting to access the drought situation.
Kiunjuri at the time said the government had released Sh9.2 billion to drought mitigation programmes.
On Friday morning, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett witnessed the unloading of the first consignment of maize imported from Mexico at the Port of Mombasa after the shipment docket at the facility on Thursday.
Government Spokesperson Eric Kiraithe had indicated on Thursday that another 750,000 bags will arrive in the country in two weeks.
He however warned dubious business people against hoarding essential products for personal gain saying such actions amount to economic sabotage.
“As the nation continues to recover from the ravages of the severe drought, the government would like to appeal to farmers, food manufacturers and other stakeholders in the food value chain not to engage in unfair business practices such as hoarding which creates artificially enforced shortages for the purpose of and profit from the drought,” he pleaded.