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During the World Environment Day event, Kwale County.

Deputy President William Ruto has called on Kenyans to put their energies on decreasing pollution.

He said efforts to scale back pollution must be enhanced for a cleaner and better environment for life to thrive.

Speaking in Kwale County during the World Environment Day, Mr Ruto said there was also need to raise public awareness on the importance of saving “our oceans” from pollution emanating from land-based activities.

“Invented to solve important production constraints, plastic has over time inflicted serious environmental devastation on land, air and sea,” he said.

During the World Environment Day event Kwale County1

He was accompanied by Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, Opposition MPs Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Kassim Sawa (Matuga), Issa Boy (Kwale, Senator) and Benjamin Tayari (Kinango). Also present were Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Kareke Mbiuki (Maara), Nyandarua Senator Githiomi Mwangi and Lamu Woman Representative Ruweida Mohamed Obbo.

The Deputy President noted that vulnerable ecosystems were bearing the brunt of the degradation, with dire implications on people who depend on the ecosystems for livelihood.

Latest data shows that more than 10 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans annually.

In Kenya, two million tonnes of plastics are produced every year, 80 per cent of which end up in the ocean.

In turn, Mr Ruto said, these plastics reach the ocean, degrade and are eaten by fish, eventually ending up on our dinner plates.

To address the dreadful plastic pollution, several initiatives have been undertaken, including the United Nation’s Clean Seas Campaign. Started last year, the initiative urges the global community to legislate regulations on managing plastics.

In its bid to support this grand plan, Kenya banned the manufacture, use and importation of plastic carrier bags and flat bags last year.

“I urge all corporate and industry players as well as Kenyans to embrace and exploit alternative packaging material as well as recycling and re-using to minimise waste,” said Mr Ruto.

But the government does not intend to stop there. According to the Deputy President, together with other stakeholders, the government has initiated various mechanisms, including a take-back system by manufacturers, clean-up exercises in various counties and intensified recycling efforts.

To firm up these conservation efforts, Mr Ruto called on the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to introduce a monthly national clean-up day to be marked in all counties, towns, villages, schools, colleges and universities to culminate in the Clean-up-the-World day, which is usually marked globally every September.

The Deputy President said the Government will sustain and intensify its partnership with counties to drive the green agenda forward.

He however, urged counties to mainstream climate change in their Integrated Development Plans. So far, Wajir, Makueni and Isiolo, have set aside funds to mitigate against climate change.


Earlier, while addressing Kwale Primary School pupils during a tree-planting exercise, Mr Ruto said the Government was also reviewing the curriculum to integrate environment issues in the education system.

“We know that banning plastics is not enough. We have to address the destruction of forests. This is why three weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta led Kenyans in launching the National tree planting,” he said.

The initiative is expected to see at least 10 per cent tree cover by 2022.

More firms to be listed in the Nairobi Securities Exchange

Deputy President William Ruto has urged the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to come up with plan that will see more firms listed.

He said it was ironical that the NSE is ranked fifth largest in Africa yet only a few number of firms control close to 80 per cent of its activities.

“There must be a problem somewhere. Are there real benefits of listing at the stock exchange? If so, are they attractive enough? Posed Mr Ruto when he met the NSE Board at Karen, Nairobi.

Mr Ruto said there was need for NSE to independently find out if there was “something eroding the real benefits” of a firm being listed at the securities exchange that is keeping potential companies away, adding that perhaps the bar has been set too high for small and medium-sized firms to list.

While appreciating that deeper reforms needed to be done to attract more firms to list at the Exchange, Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Odundo said that incentives such as the withholding tax on dividends and interest income had done little to bring new players on board.

DP MEETS NSE BOARD

“The government has done a lot to energise the securities market. However, we have not managed to attract new, large players. The reasons being that some firms are not comfortable with the disclosure requirements, fear of losing control, relatively weak macroeconomic environment and the perception that the cost of listing is a bit high,” said Mr Odundo.


As a result of the lack of appetite to list, the NSE chief executive said that they would be working in partnership with the government to ease the listing requirements. “This will attract more companies in the securities market and therefore minimise the concentration risk that we are facing today where few companies control almost 80 per cent of the activities at the NSE.”

In the new plan, NSE is proposing a new concept that will have an incubators segment and an accelerators segment as it prepares to bring new firms to list. The incubators segment would host firms that are too-important-to-fall and also those with special national interest. The succeeding stage would be the accelerators segment which would be tasked with preparing firms to list at the NSE. Mr Odundo said they are targeting at least 250 firms in this new plan that has been christened the “Rapid Mass Listings” strategy.

“We are going to do this in stages. We will prepare and package all firms that have appetite to be listed. Importantly, there will be minimum compliance requirements,” said Mr Odundo.

Deputy President noted that securities markets are a crucial economic engine but should be exposed to reforms that would make it grow and host even the small and medium-sized enterprises. “NSE has the potential of helping the government and Kenyans realise the Big Four Agenda. But relax the listing requirements. Why require companies to lose a minimum of 30 per cent stake and attract only a handful when you can put the threshold at five per cent and attract 1,000 new firms? Push for such reforms,” said Mr Ruto.

Government will uphold and honour all that multi-party crusaders

Deputy President William said the Government will uphold and honour all that multi-party crusaders including Kenneth Matiba fought for.

He said "We will not allow what you fought for to be eroded. We must consolidate our politics, bring communities together and forge unity of purpose,” said Mr Ruto.

We celebrate Kenneth Matiba, a patriot, nationalist and statesman. His tenacity and persistent struggle for democracy and good governance elevated his status and secured his illustrious place in Kenya's history.

Edith Matiba with DP William Ruto

"Mzee Matiba stood tall for what is right in this country. Those of us enjoying their struggle will work to ensure it's not in pain," added Mr Ruto.

The visit comes barely a day after the Government announced that it has taken over funeral plans for the fallen multi-party crusader.

He spoke when he led Cabinet Secretaries and a host of MPs to the home of veteran politician, the late Kenneth Matiba, in Red Hill, Kiambu County to extend their condolences.
 
The Cabinet Secretaries included Amina Mohammed (Education), Keriako Tobiko (Environment), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), Charles Keter (Energy), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Rachel Omamo (Defense), Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution), Ukur Yatani (Labour), James Macharia (Transport), Mohammed Rashid (Sports), Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Margaret Kobia (Public Service).
 
Other leaders included Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki.
 
Mr Ruto and the leaders prayed to God to grant the family strength and fortitude to overcome the loss during this difficult time.

“As Government, we will do what we can to uphold what the late Matiba among other leaders fought for to attain democracy in this country,” said Mr Ruto.
 
Addressing mourners who included former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Mr Ruto said the Government would uphold what Mr Matiba and his colleagues fought for in efforts to attaining democracy in the country.
 
He said Kenyans have been inspired by the great work the freedom fighters among them the late Matiba have done for the country as far as democracy was concerned.
 
Mr Odinga urged the Government to compensate the family of the late Matiba as an appreciation for the role he played in achieving the democratic space the country was enjoying.
 
He said the late Matiba’s businesses collapsed during his struggle for multi-party democracy, because he was ready to pay whatever price for the attainment of a free and just society.
 
“What the Government should do is proper compensation for all the suffering the late Matiba underwent on behalf of the people of Kenya,” said Mr Odinga.
 
“I want to assure you that the sacrifices and struggle that Mr Matiba and his team made was not for their personal gain but for this country and will not be in vain,” added Mr Ruto.
 
Edith Matiba, the wife of the late Matiba, thanked the Government for the support it is giving to the family including taking over the funeral plans.
 
“You have really comforted my heart by coming. We now have the courage to move on because of friends like you who have come here to console us,” said Mrs Matiba.

Adopt stock exchange instead of bank loans

Deputy President William Ruto challenged private companies to raise money from stock exchange instead of borrowing from financial institutions.

The Deputy President said the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) should do more to ensure more companies get listed at the bourse.

“The NSE is supposed to help us support more companies, especially the big ones, so that they can go to the stock exchange and instead of borrowing money they can list and raise capital for their expansion,” Mr Ruto said during the official opening of the 7th Building African Financial Markets (BAFM) Seminar in Nairobi.

Mr Ruto said the government is supporting the growth of the capital markets through incentives and an enabling environment.

“One such incentive, which should be exploited is the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement that was signed by 44 countries in Kigali, Rwanda. It allows African countries to trade and cushion themselves from foreign aid,” he said.

Mr Ruto said the government has tapped into the international market for financing, which he termed a deliberate strategy to create affordable capital for the private sector and reduce its cost.

Adopt stock exchange instead of bank loans

“This week, President Uhuru Kenyatta was at the London Stock Exchange to ensure that we can dual list the National Oil Corporation to raise funds that will help us develop infrastructure for our oil,” he said.

The Deputy President said that capital markets are major components of transformation, sustainable development, wealth creation and should tap into and push the government’s Big Four priority areas of food security, manufacturing, housing and healthcare.

“Through diversification, innovation and cross listing, they can expand opportunities for financing our growth, advancement and produce multiplier effects across all sectors,” Mr Ruto said.

He singled out delivery of Universal Health Coverage, saying the government plans to float bonds to finance the programme and urged the NSE to leverage on it.

A significant portion of proceeds from future issuance of Government infrastructure bond will be earmarked for the health sector.

The NSE chairman Samuel Kimani said there are efforts increase the number of listed companies in the country.

“We will hold talks with relevant stakeholders to come up with ways of ensuring this happens,” Mr Kimani said.

Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) CEO who is also the President of African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Oscar Onyema, Capital Markets Authority CEO Paul Muthaura and CEO Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) Geoffrey O. Odundo were present.

Second National Conservation Agriculture Conference

Deputy President William Ruto has asked the Ministry of Agriculture to immediately pay maize farmers.

He said the farmers need the funds to prepare their land and plant.

At the same time, Mr Ruto said the Government was investigating some unscrupulous business people posing as maize farmers.

Second National Conservation Agriculture Conference

He said the group had bought maize across the borders and sold to the National Cereals and Produce Board thereby denying local farmers the opportunity to earn from their produce.

Mr Ruto attributed the cause of payment delays to farmers to the crooked businesspeople who have dumped maize from neghbouring countries to the cereals board.

We recognise the need for more productivity and higher incomes for farmers, but we must also be fair to the environment and that is why the conversation on conservation agriculture is important.

The Deputy President announced that the ministry will register all farmers in the next 90 days to weed out those bend on sabotaging the Government subsidy programme and weed out cartels.

The Big Four agenda is about scaling up agriculture and expanding our productive possibilities to sustain economic growth, create employment and increase competitiveness in the sector.

He was speaking during the official opening of the Second National Conservation Agriculture Conference, held at a Nairobi hotel.

Leaders present were Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe (Agriculture), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Kenya representative Dr Gabriel Rugalema and European Union (EU), Kenya representative, Myra Bernardi.

Mr Ruto said in order to reap the dividends of Conservation Agriculture, we need to have a minimum of 10 percent of farmers countrywide to adopt the practice, saying county governments were perfect partners in ensuring the success of the programme.

He said the Government will continue to support farmers by ensuring zero rated farm machinery, soil friendly fertilizer and availing fertilizer at Sh1,500 per 50 kilogramme bag.

Mr Ruto challenged the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation to formulate sound policies and a viable implementation framework so as to anchor the approach to sustain productivity.