Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen
Welcome to today’s briefing here at Eldoret State Lodge.
First. We join the family and friends of Janet Kanini Ikua in mourning her passing on yesterday. Janet was a much loved and much respected media personality whose commitment to accuracy, objectivity, and non-partisan reporting made her work truly outstanding, and which, in terms of her legacy, her former colleagues at NTV and the media fraternity should emulate.
Janet fought bravely against cancer, ultimately losing that fight. But her bravery, and her public awareness campaign may yet have led to hundreds seeking diagnosis earlier, and therefore saving their lives.
May the Lord rest her soul in eternal peace.
Public servants participating in politics
Second, Let me respond to your questions on whether public servants are playing politics by speaking at public barazas or interacting with citizens and talking about the direction our country is heading.
First, public servants, including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and other senior staff cadre have a duty of accountability to the Kenyan people. They have to account on the progress the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta has made since taking office; they have to account for the trillions of shillings in taxes collected from the Kenyan people and invested in infrastructure development and other services; and they have to account for the confidence invested in them by the Kenyan people.
Why are they supporting the President and the Jubilee administration, some of you have asked? Because they are accountable to the President who appointed them in the first place, and whose vision of service to the Kenyan people it is their duty to operationalise.
And why would they appear to be directly campaigning for the President? No, they are not campaigning. They are merely describing the investments made under President Kenyatta and the impact thereof, and why therefore it is important for the President to be re-elected to continue with the task of transforming Kenya.
For us, it is really a question of accountability. It is precisely because public officers are speaking more that the country acknowledges that Kenya is irreversibly transforming.
Development Projects in the Region:
Third. While I am here in Eldoret, let me speak briefly to the development agenda here in Uasin Gishu County and the region.
The Jubilee Administration has ensured connectivity and ease of access to town centres and markets through the construction of roads. For instance, the 60 KM Eldoret – Webuye Road has been complete at a cost of KSHS 5.2 Billion and covers the Kabuchai and Kesses area. The 34 KM Kabenes – Kachibora Road is nearly complete and cost this administration KSHS 1.3 Billion and covers the Soi and Moiben area. Additionally, the Rehabilitation of the 73 KM Timboroa – Eldoret Road in the Ainabkoi/Kesses area has been completed at a cost of KSHS 3.57 Billion.
Other roads in the areas that are in the pipeline include the Soy – Kipsangui – Kabenes Road in the Turbo area, the Bugar – Chebiemit Road, the Naiberi – Sergoit – Moiben/Marura Rd among others.
The Jubilee Administration is keen on ensuring that hospitals are fully equipped. To this end, the government has supplied and installed renal and imaging and radiology equipment under the Managed Equipment Services (MES) Programme at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital at a cost of KSHS 290 Million. Additionally, the Ziwa Level 5 and the Burnt Forest Level 4 in Eldoret North and Eldoret South respectively have been fully kitted under the Managed Equipment Services Programme at a cost of KSHS 430 Million and 380 Million respectively. These hospitals have been equipped with Theatre equipment, sterilization and surgical sets, renal equipment, renal equipment as well as imaging and radiology equipment.
Additionally, through the Free Maternity Services Programme, 48,566 deliveries have been done in Uasin Gishu County at a cost of KSHS 78.16 Million.
On ICT and Education, as you may be aware, this administration has undertaken to ensure all class one and class two pupils are taught using tablets. To this end, under the Digital Literacy Programme, a total of 12,822 devices have been delivered to 285 schools in the county.
Connected to the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) is the Last Mile Connectivity Programme, a programme that ensures all primary schools are connected to the national grid. Here in Uasin Gishu County, 437 primary schools have been connected to the grid from 210 in June 2013. This represents a percentage growth of 108%. Additionally, 212,673 households have been connected to the grid, up from 86,457 in June 2013, representing a percentage increase of 160%.
In terms of funding, the County Government of Uasin Gishu has received a cumulative figure of KSHS 15.09 Billion since 2013, whereas the CDF allocation to all constituencies here in Uasin Gishu County since 2013 is KSHS 2.23 Billion.
Women, youth, persons with disabilities and the vulnerable in this county have also benefited from this administration. From the Women Enterprise Fund, there have been 23,013 beneficiaries at a cost of KSHS 148.2 Million, whereas 4,860 youth have benefited from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund at a cost of just over KSHS 102 Million. The Uwezo Fund has had 17,019 beneficiaries in Uasin Gishu County at a cost of KSHS 111 Million. In respect of the National Safety Net Programme, there are 9,820 beneficiaries from this county at a cost of KSHS 766.9 Million.
Apparel Industry in Kenya:
Fourth. I would like to speak to the apparel industry here in Kenya. In the past week, there has been a “Super Sale” in Nairobi, an event organized by the Ministry of Industry and Co–operatives together with the Textile and Apparel Companies at the Export Processing Zones in Nairobi, Nakuru, Athi River and in Mombasa.
The sale featured companies that export on behalf of the largest apparel brands in the world that export to markets such as the United States, under AGOA, and the United Kingdom. It attracted some 80,000 people during the four days.
This sale promoted the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” Initiative with the ultimate goal of creating and growing jobs for the youth. It is also meant to accord Kenyans an opportunity to access quality, locally made affordable clothes whose price range is between Kshs 100 to Kshs 600. The same quality of clothes are sold at Kshs 6,000 or more in the same markets. The success of the Nairobi event has inspired the President to order that similar sales be held in other towns and cities across the country.
This initiative will lead to the setting up a new supply chain of local export quality clothes that is hoped to create a further 100,000 jobs from the current 50,000 at the Export Processing Zones and another 179,000 in the larger domestic market.
Government is focusing on refurbishment of our textiles industries. Rivatex here in Eldoret is seeing a massive revamp at a cost of some KSh 3 billion, financed by a line of credit from India.
Kenya is already the leading sub-Saharan African textiles and apparels exporter to AGOA, with our value of exports estimated at $400 million annually, and we are looking to continue to improve so we can take full advantage of the opportunity available to the republic.
State Visit by the President of Seychelles:
Fifth. President Kenyatta will tomorrow welcome His Excellency Danny Faure, President of Seychelles, who will make a State Visit.
The visit will begin with a 21–gun salute, a tete–a–tete meeting with President Kenyatta, a bilateral meeting between both governments and thereafter a State Luncheon in honour of the visiting Head of State.
Kenya and Seychelles share warm and cordial bilateral relations. Areas of interest between both countries include Maritime Security. This cooperation may be enhanced through other initiatives such as sharing of intelligence and capacity building measures.
Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya and Seychelles and the two countries share similar product - beach tourism. There are opportunities of cooperation in this sector between the two countries. These would include sharing of best practices, training and exchange programmes, joint marketing strategies and joint packaging of the destinations.
On employment opportunities, Kenya stands to benefit by encouraging qualified Kenyans to seek employment in Seychelles, as Seychelles requires well-trained and skilled human capital for employment in various sectors of their economy. This will not only have an impact on the economies of the two countries but will also increase the linkages between Kenya and Seychelles.
Sixth. Let me address the question of electricity connectivity. Let me debunk the myth that there are parts of this country that are favoured under the Last Mile Connectivity Programme.
The Jubilee Administration has ensured equity in regards to connectivity to the National Grid.
Indeed, Western, Eastern and Nyanza are among the regions that have witnessed the highest increase in new connections. For instance, the status of connectivity in Homa Bay County in February 2017 was 47,212 households compared to only 11,071 in June 2013 – an addition of 36,141 connections. Additionally, In Siaya County, the number of households that have been connected to the grid is currently at 58,420 compared to 14,168 in June 2013 whereas in Kisumu County 172,027 households were connected in the same period compared to 42,177 in June 2013. This represents 326, 312 and 308 per cent increase in electricity connectivity in Homa Bay, Siaya and Kisumu Counties respectively – the largest increase in connectivity countrywide.
Additionally, by February this year, there currently are 52,313 households connected to the national grid in Vihiga County compared to only 13,460 in June 2013. In Busia County, the number of households connected to the grid stands at 50,001 in February 2017 while those connected were only 14,892 in June 2013. In Bungoma County, the number of households connected to the grid stands at 57,956 compared to 20,159 in June 2013 while Kakamega the numbers were 78,785 compared to 31,824 in June 2013. This represents an increase of 289, 236, 187 and 148 per cent in Vihiga, Busia, Bungoma and Kakamega counties respectively.
Further, In the lower Eastern region, in Kitui County, 39,872 households were connected to the grid as at February 2017, compared to only 14,495 in June 2013. In Makueni County, the number of connected households was 34,076 in February 2017 compare to 13,698 in June 2013 while in Machakos the connection stood at 124,550 in February 2017 compared to only 61,536 in June 2013.
As you can see, the numbers don’t lie. Any persons or organisations insinuating that the Government’s effort to provide electricity could be skewed in favour of some regions are misguided at best, or really they do not know what they are talking about and better research could help.
That is all for today. I can now take questions.