KAKAMEGA, Kenya, Jul 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday outlined the multi-billion projects his Government had both revived and implemented in Western Kenya saying he had delivered the promises he made to the people in the region.
In the last four years, his Government injected Sh500 million to bail Mumias Sugar company from its huge unpaid debts to the farmers and another Sh300 million to Nzoia Sugar to pay its debtors including cane producers.
Besides the payout to the farmers, treasury also released much more money in Government efforts to revive the operations of Mumias Sugar and steer the miller back to profitability.
During the same period, said the President, the Government revived the collapsed Rai Paper (previously Panpaper Mills) leading to the current employment of 800 local people.
Speaking at State Lodge, Kakamega, during a morning interview with Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Live and West FM-Live, the President said Rai Paper has a huge potential to employ many more local people when its third and fourth production lines are launched.
Its second line was commissioned on Wednesday –bringing the number of people to be employed to 1000. President Kenyatta opened the first line in December.
Besides the revival and bail-out of the three key companies, the Government has also constructed various key roads in all the four Counties of Kakamega, Busia, Vihiga and Bungoma to both open up the region and spur its economic growth.
These roads are either completed or in the last stages of construction and contracts given for many others.
President Kenyatta also listed Kibabii University in Bungoma, which has already received a Charter , as another successful initiative of his Government.
Like many other institutions of higher learning, said the President, Kibabii University has funding challenges. He said it’s among the institutions under the Ministry of Education’s Active Program over better utilization of funds.
He said Kaimosi TTC is also on the cards of his Government for elevation to a University so that many more local students can access higher Education.
In four years, said the Head of State, the Government has initiated the construction of the largest number of roads in Western Kenya than any other Government.
“We have done quite a lot in Western Kenya. We (Jubilee Government) has delivered our promise to Western Kenya. We are asking the people in this region to allow us continue with this development”, said the President who has visited the region more than 12 times during his tenure as Head of State.
President Kenyatta said two Hospitals in each of the four Counties had also benefited from a Sh800million in modern facilities-ensuring people in the region can access health services in their counties.
President Kenyatta also outlined key priority areas of his Government when re-elected on August 8th.
Free education, cutting the cost of living, creation of jobs for the youth, completion of ongoing construction of roads and the expansion of the last-mile electricity connection are the key priorities of his Government, he said on the KBC-live program which was broadcasting through more than 15 radio platforms.
“These are the most important issues and priority areas of my Government”, he said
The President also assured the Council of Governors (CoG) of his willingness to assist them resolve the current crisis by nurses over their new Collective Bargaining Agreement to enhance their salaries.
He described the ongoing strike as sad and unfortunate and called on the CoG to resolve the matter urgently.
“The National Government is ready to assist the CoG resolve this issue,” he said adding that hospitals under the National Government are operating and all their employees have already been paid.
He said all the necessary funds had been released to the County Governments to pay their employees including doctors and nurses. There are no arrears from the National Government on these payments.
On Free Education, said the Head of State, the Government has already set aside Sh10 billion to ensure the success of the program under which all Public Primary and Secondary schools will be funded, starting January 2018.
He asked all constitutional bodies dealing with corruption to expedite on all pending graft-related cases adding that the legal process was slow.
“They are slow. They must expedite on all corruption cases. The Judiciary, the DPP, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and other bodies should move fast and prosecute all those previously mentioned in corruption cases or tell us the (suspects )they are clean’, said the President.
He also addressed himself to the current high cost of living affecting Kenyans saying the only sure way to successfully bring the costs down lies in the completion of ongoing infrastructural programs including roads and expansion of electricity production and distribution.
“We may not succeed unless we first complete the ongoing infrastructure programs-roads, electricity among others. This is the surest way to reduce costs,” said the President who gave the completion of the Voi-Taita Taveta road as an example where transport costs had been reduced by half.
On the recurrent issue of IDPs, the President said as much as the Government was committed to resolve the matter; it was saddening that the list of beneficiaries keeps changing as soon as one group is paid.
“We ask village elders (in all affected areas) to tell us who are the genuine IDPs. We are ready to pay and settle this matter once and for all,” he said.
The President said some Governors had done exemplary well for their Counties but people in some counties need to interrogate the performance of some leaders before re-electing them to office.
He called on Kenyans to vote freely but peacefully adding that Kenyans should create an environment where investors have continued faith in the country.
He also revisited the recent Presidential Debate explaining that future planners of similar events should consult all stakeholders and engage all participants in structured talks. All stakeholders should be part of the planning process, he said