President Kenyatta cited provision of quality healthcare services, decent housing, job creation and boosting agriculture as some of the key planks of his agenda.
Speaking after he and his Deputy William Ruto were sworn-in at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, President Kenyatta said he will also focus on strengthening the ties that bind Kenyans together at every level of the society.
“It is time for us to learn that it is fine for us to agree to disagree, while still strengthening our bonds of unity and nationhood,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “On my part, I have begun reaching out to all leaders, across the political divide, restating my commitment and expressing my willingness to work with them to achieve this objective of nationhood.”
President Kenyatta was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta as he took the oath of office while the Deputy President was accompanied by his wife Rachel Ruto.
Delivering his speech, Deputy President Ruto reiterated the need for Kenyans to embrace peace and work together to develop the country.
“All of us, as the people of Kenya, must stand together to say no to hate, to resist ethnicity, to refuse division and to reject violence. What is important, going forward, is the transformation of our country and the development of our nation,” the DP said.
On health, President Kenyatta pointed out that his target is to provide 100 percent universal healthcare coverage for all households over the next five years.
“And let me explain what this means: you will recall Jackson Wamai, a 28-year-old teacher from Murang’a, diagnosed with kidney failure, who once had to travel two hours to and from Nairobi for dialysis; threatening his livelihood. Today, it takes him twenty minutes to get to a dialysis session in Murang’a, and his job is secure,” the President said.
He said, within the same period, his Administration intends to ensure that 13 million Kenyans and their dependents are beneficiaries of medical insurance cover under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
“This vision will be driven by a complete reconfiguration of the National Hospital Insurance Fund and reform of the laws governing private insurance companies,” he said.
On the provision of affordable housing, President Kenyatta said his Government will facilitate a home ownership programme that will ensure every working family can afford a decent home.
This will lead to the creation of 500,000 new home owners in the next five years, President Kenyatta said.
He added that his Administration will also focus on attracting – from both public and private sources – the injection of low-cost capital into the housing sector.
“Policy and administrative reforms which are targeted at lowering the cost of construction and improving the accessibility of affordable mortgages will be given first priority,” he said.
The President said creation of jobs and opportunities for the country’s young population also ranks high in his priority list and will target the manufacturing sector as the primary vehicle for the creation of decent jobs.
“We will build on ongoing efforts, such as the VW and Peugeot motor-vehicle assembly plants; the fertilizer blending factories; and Wrigleys in the confectionery industry. Similarly, we will target the creation of 1,000 small and medium scale enterprises in agro-processing,” the President said.
As part of his effort to revamp the manufacturing sector, President Kenyatta said his Administration will grow and sustain it to raise its share of the national cake from 9 to 15 percent.
“To achieve this leap, I have directed that with effect from 1st December 2017, the power tariffs charged to manufacturers will be reduced by 50 percent between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. This is in line with our policy of a 24-hour economy,” President Kenyatta said.
Further, the President emphasized, the Government will focus on developing agro-processing, textiles and apparel, leather processing, construction materials, innovation and IT, mining and extractives sub-sectors where value addition will be the underlying theme.
“Whether it is our vegetables, tea, coffee, oil or gemstones, our policies and actions as a government over the next 5 years will be to ensure that as much value and as many jobs as possible are created and retained in Kenya,” the President said.
To boost food security, President Kenyatta assured of heavy investment in securing the country’s water towers so that the vagaries of weather will never again hold the country hostage.
“We shall take steps to encourage and facilitate large-scale commercial agriculture to help diversify our staples. We shall redesign subsidies to the sector to ensure they target improvements in food yields and production quality,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking at the event on behalf of other visiting Heads of State, Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda),Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon) and Edgar Lungu congratulated Kenyans for the successful election.