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Cabinet outlines its priorities

NAIROBI, May 15 – The Grand Coalition Cabinet held its first meeting Thursday and outlined five priority areas that the new administration is to focus on.

The four hour meeting at State House Nairobi under the chairmanship of President Mwai Kibaki agreed to establish five Cabinet committees to oversee the realisation of the expected goals.

"The committees include: the National Security, Finance, administration and planning, Infrastructure, Services and Production committee," a brief statement from the Presidential Press Service said.

The National Security Committee will be chaired by the President.

The other four committees will be chaired by Prime Minister Raila Odinga with the assistance of the two deputy Prime Ministers; Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi.

The Cabinet resolved that making the country food secure would be the top priority of the Government.

In this regard it was resolved that the country must urgently increase its food reserves, which will see the strategic maize reserves increased from 4 million bags to 8 million bags in the next two years.

It was further decided that due to an anticipated grain shortage later in the year, the National Cereals and Produce Board should import 3 million bags of maize in the next few weeks as a precautionary measure.

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The Cabinet noted that escalating international food prices were posing a serious threat to Kenya’s food security hence the need to take immediate measures to cushion the country. It was agreed that the importation would only be a temporary measure as the government seeks ways of increasing food production.

The Cabinet also reviewed the re-settlement of those persons who were internally displaced earlier in the year. Members expressed satisfaction with the exercise that has led to the re-settlement of 70 percent of those who were living in the camps.

Members agreed on the approach to be taken in the second phase of re-settling those who were staying with well-wishers and relatives.

"In the next few months the government will continue assisting those who are re-settling until they have resumed their normal lives," the statement said.

"The cabinet therefore under-pinned the importance of national reconciliation and economic recovery, as areas needing attention in order to lay a firm foundation for ensuring social equity."

In his opening remarks, the Head of State urged members of the Cabinet to resist being distracted by issues that would delay implementation of crucial programmes undertaken by the government.

"We must have the drive to succeed in serving our country and Kenyans at large, there is much expectation from the Kenyan people and we must deliver on the promises we made," noted the President.

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