NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Newly appointed Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday officially took office and pledged to fight graft in his ministry.
Mr Kenyatta committed himself to tackle all issues relating to corruption firmly, not just for the sake of attracting donor funding but to also grow the economy.
“I am committed to fighting corruption and I do believe despite the fact that we are consistently referring to corruption we have come a long way in our fight against it,” he observed.
“That is not to say that corruption does not exist, but I do know that I am committed to fighting the vice and part of my job here will be to do that.”
The Minister refuted allegations that the government was not receiving any donor commitments because of corruption.
He also revealed that Treasury was organising a consultant meeting with donors under the auspices of the Kenya Donor Coordinating Group (KCG) next week, to discuss the issue of a Sh37 billion international appeal by the President to tackle the food shortage facing the country.
“After this meeting we will call you and tell you this is what we requested, this is what we have received, but whether it’s all or not, it’s our responsibility to provide food for starving Kenyans,” Mr Kenyatta reiterated.
The Minister was speaking during the signing of two grant agreements; for water supply in Kapsabet town and for HIV control amounting to Sh78.9 million and Sh293.5 million respectively.
“The water funds will be used to improve water management within Kapsabet town while the HIV funds will be used to acquire Rapid Aid Testing Kits,” he said.
Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Shigeo Iwatani said that his country was committed to assisting the country in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“Our efforts of support to Kenya have been in keeping with our commitments made at the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development held last May in Japan. The conference addressed such issues as the prevalence of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and the need for access to safe water and sanitation,” Mr Iwatani said.
The Ambassador called on the government to efficiently utilise the funds provided for both projects.
Mr Kenyatta was taking over the Treasury after his appointment by the President last Friday.
He previously served as the Trade Minister, a docket which is now managed by his predecessor at the Treasury Amos Kimunya, who returned to the Cabinet after stepping aside for a probe of his involvement in the ‘irregular’ sale of the Grand Regency hotel.