KAKAMEGA, Kenya, Dec 4 – The Government will not allow unscrupulous traders to manipulate the supply chain of basic commodities at the expense of the welfare of Kenyans, President Mwai Kibaki has cautioned.
President Kibaki reassured that his government was working on mechanisms to ensure that basic foodstuffs are made available to the public at reasonable prices.
"As a government we will remain sensitive to the plight of the common mwananchi," the Head of State said.
The President, who is the Chancellor of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, was speaking on Thursday when he presided over the university’s second graduation ceremony.
The Head of State added that his administration was making efforts to tackle the supply and demand challenges the country was currently facing in food distribution.
In this regard, the President challenged Kenyan researchers to ensure that the latest techniques trickle down to farmers to ensure increased production of staple food crops in the country.
President Kibaki observed, "I am aware that our universities and other research institutions have put together positive findings on how to increase our food production. However, those findings are not being applied on our farms where old ways of farming are still evident."
The Head of State also urged institutions to strive to provide suitable solutions to the problems facing the country, citing the challenge of meeting national food requirements.
With regard to education, President Kibaki said that the government was currently spending the largest portion of the national budget on education due to its significant role in national development.
He said: "We are today living in a world in which knowledge is the key factor of production and the basis of competitive advantage. And for us to succeed in the new and highly dynamic global economic system, we must continue to emphasise the pursuit of knowledge."
The President expressed the commitment of his government in providing quality education to ensure the country produces highly qualified manpower that competes favourably in the global market arena.
"This is particularly important when we consider that the realisation of our development agenda as laid out in Vision Twenty Thirty is pegged entirely on our ability to train and retain a human resource base equipped with the knowledge and skills required to transform the vision into reality," President Kibaki told the congregation.
He said that the government had also put in place deliberate measures to improve education standards in all marginalised areas to enable them catch up with other endowed regions of the country.
"We are also providing targeted support to vulnerable groups as well as regions that have lagged behind in education," President Kibaki said.
With regard to information technology, the Head of State pointed out the government was implementing measures that would reduce the digital divide between the rural and urban areas.
He told the congregation that the government had allocated substantial resources for building the first ever fibre-optic cable in the country that would greatly improve connectivity charges in the country.
The President said that this would provide enormous opportunities in the lucrative field of business outsourcing and urged the graduands to take advantage of the prospects.
President Kibaki commended the University for its innovative programmes particularly an ultra modern Science and Technology Park, which he commissioned.
He noted with satisfaction that there was an investor already running information technology related business employing young Kenyans and hailed the plans to designate the park as an Export Processing Zone to attract more investors.
The President said: "I have no doubt that this effort will contribute immensely to job creation and will upgrade livelihoods of many Kenyan families."
President Kibaki further applauded the University’s investment in modern sports facilities of international standards, which he noted would bolster the efforts of tapping the existing sporting potential among the youth.
"Sports facilities are crucial in an institution of learning. Moreover, Kenya is highly recognised internationally as the home for some of the greatest sportsmen and women," said the Head of State.
He further applauded the University’s initiative of establishing an internationally recognized centre for disaster management and humanitarian assistance, which trains professionals in conflict resolution.