Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen
Welcome to today’s briefing, once again here at Kisumu State Lodge. You guys here are so welcoming, and I am grateful for that.
Labour Day Salary Increment Anticipation
Let me start with matters related to Labour Day.
Only a few days ago, the President visited the EPZ at Baba Dogo in Nairobi, where apparel is produced mainly for the US market under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). You know that we export $400 millions worth of goods under that programme and are looking to expand, in time, to our full potential. At the centre of that expansion are workers, for whom the President cares a great deal.
The President addressed a large section of the 10,000 employed at the Baba Dogo facility, telling them he was proud of the role they were playing in building our country, and growing our economy. The President also said he was aware that their welfare needed to be improved, and used the visit to ask the employers at the facility, as well as other private sector employers to factor in salary increments in the context of Labour Day on May 1.
The government and other relevant stakeholders, such as the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) are in negotiations about an increment in the minimum wage for public sector workers. Government has not increased the minimum wage in two years, and the President favours an increase this year. It is something that workers can look forward to.
We have noted reports on whether salaries for members of security agencies, and especially the police, will be increased. We can confirm that Johnson Kavuludi and his Commission, the SRC and other relevant stakeholders are in discussion on this matter, and Government awaits the final recommendations on the subject. But it is common knowledge that the welfare of our men and women in uniform is of paramount concern to President Kenyatta.
The President recognises that while overall the Kenyan economy remains robust, ordinary citizens still experience difficulties in their daily lives, and he is working to help tackle these challenges.
Some of you have asked about the President’s views on the Gender Bill, and especially after his strong comments at his sister’s funeral. I can reiterate that the President is keen to see movement on the subject, in the context of a clear framework set out in our constitution.
The President has asked House Majority Leader Aden Duale to prioritise the Gender Bill, believing that the 11th Parliament has a historic opportunity to stamp its authority on the matter, and in terms of legacy be remembered as the parliament that put issues related to women leadership at the very top of its agenda and thinking.
The President is optimistic that MPs will come together in a bi-partisan way to get the job done.
President Kenyatta’s visit to Kisumu
As you may be aware, President Kenyatta will be visiting these parts beginning tomorrow.
Tomorrow, President Kenyatta will preside over the 90th Kenya Music Festivals State Gala here at Kisumu State Lodge.
Culture and the Arts is an integral part of this Administration’s priority areas, and an integral part on Kenya’s economic asset.
Let me speak to President Kenyatta’s Administration’s efforts in promoting culture and the arts in our republic. The Kenya Film School has been established, which provides the youth to develop film production skills and consequently, promote the local film industry. The intake of the first batch from the Kenya Film School was in June 2016, who graduated in December of the same year.
In another initiative, Studio Mashinani is taking shape. This is a project under the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to build and operate independent audio music recording and creative production studios for recording quality audio music, commercials and jingle pieces. This is premised on the slogan that ‘Talent ni Kazi’. Five studios have been set up in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa in Phase One of the project: 3 studios are in Nairobi and one each in Mombasa and Kisumu).
Studio Mashinani project is based on the fact that Kenya’s music industry provides the highest growth path for the youth in engagements such as music writing, singing, dancing, recording, Disc Jockeying, Emceeing, distribution and promotion, among other music-related livelihoods.
Despite the vast opportunities provided by the music industry, a lot of youth with talent remain unable to finance the production and publicity of their own songs.
So, these studios will enable youth who find it hard and expensive to advance their careers in music to tap into their natural creative talents and curiosity
President Kenyatta will hold a number of other meetings here, details of which will be communicated in due course.
On Wednesday, the President Kenyatta is due to visit the Luanda Market, in your neighbour Vihiga County, to commission the street lighting project. The President will also review a number of other development projects in Luanda and Emuhaya constituencies.
Street lighting is vital towards the development of a 24–hour economy, and is vital for enhanced security in a very vibrant transit market like Luanda.
Delivery Projects in Nyanza County
Now that I am here, and President Kenyatta will be touring the region, let me speak to the development projects that President Kenyatta’s Administration has overseen and developed here in the Nyanza Region.
I will first speak to the work that the National Youth Service (NYS) here in the Nyanza region. First, as I had mentioned last week, NYS cohorts are involved in the cleaning up of hyacinth from the Lake Victoria area. Registration has been completed in Bondo (500 youth), Ugenya (500 youth) and Rarieda (700 youth). Additionally, these youths will form SACCOs to which a part of their wages are remitted.
SACCOs are an important element of sustainability of the youth empowerment project. In Kisumu for instance, remittances to these SACCOs currently stands at KSHS 90,870,441 and the youth can draw from these funds to start and grow their own businesses.
In terms of devolved funds, the amount of money transferred to Kisumu County since 2013 is KSHS 17.89 Billion whereas the CDF allocation in the same period stands at 2.63 Billion, implying that a large chunk of cash has been available to help grow the county — and hopefully the Governor and MPs from here invested the money well in projects that lift the lives of the residents.
In relation to the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), Kisumu County has received 21,792 tablets in 402 primary schools.
On the Free Maternity Services Programme, there were a total number of deliveries of 77,452 since June 2013.
In regards to social inclusion, there have been a total of 36,256 beneficiaries of the Women Enterprise Fund, at a cost of KSHS 216,350,000. In regards to Youth Enterprise Development Fund, a total of 11,391 people have benefitted from the fund, at a cost of KSHS 119,369,284, whereas in relation to the Uwezo Fund, 33,347 people have benefited, this at a cost of KSHS 128,105,228.
Monies given in reference to social inclusion improves the livelihood and welfare of these families, guarantees they lead a diplomatic life and promote the growth of SMEs.
In Homa Bay County, the amount of money transferred to Homa Bay County since 2013 is 17.74 Billion whereas the CDF allocation since President Kenyatta’s Administration came to power is 3.05 Billion.
In relation to the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), Kisumu County has received 20,414 tablets in 474 primary schools.
On the Free Maternity Services Programme, there were a total number of deliveries of 85,806 since June 2013.
In regards to social inclusion, there have been a total of 39,815 beneficiaries of the Women Enterprise Fund, at a cost of KSHS 268,483,200. In regards to Youth Enterprise Development Fund, a total of 9,797 people have benefitted from the fund, at a cost of KSHS 113,616,562, whereas in relation to the Uwezo Fund, 25,559 people have benefited, this at a cost of KSHS 145,207,281.
In Siaya County, the amount of money transferred to Siaya County since 2013 is 15.30 Billion whereas the CDF allocation since President Kenyatta’s Administration came to power is 2.26 Billion.
In relation to the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), Kisumu County has received 21, 666 tablets in 393 primary schools.
On the Free Maternity Services Programme, there were a total number of deliveries of 77,513 since June 2013.
In regards to social inclusion, there have been a total of 23,093 beneficiaries of the Women Enterprise Fund, at a cost of KSHS 113,912,900. In regards to Youth Enterprise Development Fund, a total of 7,828 people have benefitted from the fund, at a cost of KSHS 108,727,065, whereas in relation to the Uwezo Fund, 22,825 people have benefited, this at a cost of KSHS 110,901,354.
Manoah Esipisu, MBS
And State House Spokesperson