Full State of The Nation speech by President Kenyatta

Honourable Members, Fellow Kenyans,

Coming into government in 2013, we knew that eliminating corruption would be a journey on a rocky path.

We started the journey by pledging to strengthen our legal processes to wage a successful war against economic crimes.

Today, we have 90 Special Prosecutors for economic crimes, in the Judiciary and the Chief Justice has established a Special Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court, and has appointed 13 Special Magistrates to deal with anti-corruption and economic crimes cases.

In 2013 we pledged to make the necessary policy and legal changes to ensure that corrupt persons and companies would be barred from doing business with the Government. We have kept our promise by enacting a modern and far reaching Bribery Act which I assented to late last year.

I congratulate the captains of industry in the private sector who championed this initiative.

In 2013, we pledged to pursue and freeze assets and proceeds of corruption and economic crimes. We have established the institutions that give us the capability to trace and recover money and assets globally which have been stolen from the public. These include the Asset Recovery Agency, the Financial Reporting Centre and the new investigations department of the Kenya Revenue Authority. Where I am pleased to report that successes are being reported.

To date approximately 3 Billion shillings has either been recovered or preserved for recovery a first in Kenya’s history.

These recovered funds will be used for social programs for example, recently recovered funds from the Smith and Ouzman case have been used for the purchase of ambulances. Going forward we are creating a framework of how recovered funds will be used in a transparent and accountable manner.

We have chosen an approach that prevention is better than cure. Cash payment, inefficiency and delays in service delivery breed corrupt practices.

We have therefore invested in making service delivery more efficient and accessible through the Huduma Centres the E- Citizen, iTax, land registry services and other digitized platforms.

Following the establishment of the Multi-Agency Team in November 2015 we have changed the way our Agencies coordinate and share information.

What all these efforts add up to is an investment in the process, capabilities and mandates that we require to take on this big challenge. Now no agency charged with a responsibility in this fight can argue that it does not have what it needs.

My expectation, matching that of millions of Kenyans, is that convictions of prominent thieves and fraudsters will be the proof that our measures have started to succeed.

At this juncture I would like to thank our friends from the international community who have partnered with us in this noble campaign.

One of the proudest achievements on my administration is in delivering honest exams in 2016. This was a first in many years, and it was a blow against corruption.

The compromising of the exam system had favoured those who can afford bribes to the disadvantage of honest and hardworking students from disadvantaged homes. It had allowed unqualified students to take university courses that they struggled to master and led to unqualified professionals with a belief in corruption as a personal enabler. There is no corruption worse than that directed at the youth. Our bold reforms, added to the far-reaching curriculum changes, and insistence on the upgrading of educational standards, will lead to more and better jobs for our youth. I want to congratulate the team responsible for delivering honest exams and commend them for bringing Jubilee’s ambition and boldness to their work.

Honourable Members, Fellow Kenyans,
Allow me to address myself to one of the biggest challenges and threats to our economy and national well-being ; This is our public wage bill.

Our wage bill threatens to destroy our development agenda as a nation.

Today, the public wage bill stands at 627 Billion shillings per year, amounting to 50% of the total revenues collected by the Government. This staggering amount is used to pay the salaries and allowances of 700,000 public officers including those of us here today.

In simple terms, 50% of all the money collected as revenues in Kenya goes in to the pockets of less than 2% of the country’s total population.

For the last two decades, there has been a spiralling of the wage bill fuelled by incessant strikes, go-slows and outright neglect of duties. It has denied our citizens crucial services, disrupted the normal functioning of our society, and adversely affected the economy.

During my term, some unions have put pressure on the government to further increase the wage bill to unsustainable levels without the constitutional and mandatory input from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. These are issues that need to be resolved soberly because we are fast approaching the breakpoint.

Earlier today, I received from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission an interim report outlining the Review of Remuneration and Benefits for State Officers for the period 2017-2022.

This report recommends, amongst other measures, a rationalization of the salaries and allowances paid to senior state officers, public servants, elected officials from MCA all the way to the President. That will result in a reduction in salaries and allowances for those elected in August this year. As your President, and as a Kenyan, I fully support the recommendations of the SRC and I call upon all of us to adopt these recommendations.

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