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Young Scientists Kenya Awards

Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government has repositioned technology as a driver of the country’s economic growth.
 
The Deputy President said technology is a prime enabler of sustainable competitiveness, with the power to elevate the country to middle-income level.
 
Speaking during the Young Scientists Kenya Awards, ceremony, held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, the Deputy President asked Kenyans to support the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) if the country was to achieve its development goals.
 
Present were Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, Principal Secretaries Kevit Desai (TVET), Colleta Suda (University Education and Reaserch), Belio Kipsang (Education), Head Of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Ireland Ambassador to Kenya Fionnuala Quinlan and Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom.

Young Scientists Kenya Awards 2019
 
Dr Ruto said the country has identified the gaps responsible for its failure to attain its technological needs citing the 8-4-4 system of education, a move, he added, has forced the Government to embrace CBC.
 
“I wish to appeal to all our stakeholders to work to together in ensuring successful implementation of CBC whose focus is more of science, innovation and technology as the only way to achieve our development as a country,” said Dr Ruto.
 
‘This will ensure our education system responds to that of our development paradigm,” added the Deputy President.
 
He assured Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. Magoha that the Government was committed and would do everything possible to ensure successful implementation of CBC.
 
“With no proper education and proper training, our Vision 2030 might just be the other way round, Vision 3020. Our education system should just be tandem of the requirements of where we want to go as a nation,” said Dr Ruto.
 
The Deputy President said investing more in science, technology and innovation remains key to socioeconomic development.
 
He said science was going to firmly rule the future, noting that the country should be ready to adopt emerging issues in the changing new world. 
 
Dr Ruto said for the country to achieve its goal of becoming a middle-income state, more resources were being used for the development of science, technology and innovation.

“Because we must not only catch up, but also compete relentlessly with the best in the world, we have to scale up our engagement with the science, technology and innovation space, especially among our young generation,” said Dr Ruto.
 
He said science creates opportunities for societies in ways that no other endeavor can match.
 
He added: “We need more science in this country. We must develop a bigger interest in science courses to change the development trajectory of our country.”

The Third Kenya Trade Week

Addressing the Third Kenya Trade Week at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, Dr Ruto noted that Kenya must “act early and decisively to claim a strong position” in the African Free Trade Area, a bloc of 1.3 billion people and $ 3.4 trillion.

“To achieve this, it is important to develop a national strategy to guide our approach and it is my hope that the Ministry of Trade is already engaged on this task,” said the Deputy President.

He told the Summit trade is a bedrock to the economic aspirations of the country, and as such, “it is vital that we explore all avenues to expand the reach and value of Kenyan products both within and without our borders.”

the Third Kenya Trade Week DP Ruto and Raila Odinga

He further noted that it was through trade that Kenya, and Africa at large, would create jobs that is much needed for its growing population.

According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, the country’s exports grew from Sh537 billion in 2014 to Sh613 billion in 2018, indicating a 14 per cent rise. During the same period, imports went up from Sh1.62 trillion in 2014 to Sh1.76 trillion in 2018, representing an 8.6 per cent.

The export volumes, Dr Ruto said, is far from its potential.

He observed that Kenya needs to up its export numbers so as to have a balanced trade.

In 2014, for instance, Kenya exported Sh537 billions’ worth of goods and services. In the same period, it brought in goods and services worth Sh1.62 trillion indicating a negative trade balance of Sh1.08 trillion.

Likewise, it exported goods and services worth Sh613 billion in 2018 but bought goods and services from foreign countries worth Sh1.76 trillion, showing a negative balance of trade of Sh1.12 trillion.

“From the foregoing, it is clear Kenya's export numbers lag behind our true potential in the regional and global economic market and our expanding trade deficit reflects this state of affairs,” Dr Ruto argued.

So as to better its exports, the Summit heard that in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and Trade Mark East Africa, Kenya had developed the Intergrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy.

From this grand plan, the Deputy President said, export share as a percentage of the gross domestic product would grow from eight per cent to 22 per cent.

To drive this growth, the strategy has identified eight key sectors: manufacturing, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, trade in services, emerging sectors such as oil and gas, handicrafts and cross-cutting issues which are grouped as a sector.

Dr Ruto said the implementation of the strategy needs to be carried out with urgency and diligence.

Initiative to end FGM launched

Kenya in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched an initiative that aims to bring to an end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.

The program dubbed ‘End FGM Beads Initiative’ brings together the UNFPA, the Anti-FGM Board, Ushanga Kenya and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in the fight against retrogressive activities that undermine the development of girls and women.

Deputy President William Ruto witnessed the signing ceremony between UNFPA, Anti-FGM Board and Ushanga Kenya at his Karen office, Nairobi.

Addressing the press after the signing ceremony, Dr Ruto said FGM and child marriages have become major obstacles in the development and empowerment of girls and women in the country.

During the signing ceremony of the End FGM Beads Initiative at Karen office Nairobi County

“The impact of FGM and child marriage adversely affects the health, education and overall development of women and girls. Every effort is being made to ensure gender equality. We want to assemble every arsenal to fight retrogressive activities in this country,” said Dr Ruto.

He reiterated the Government’s commitment in fighting FGM, which affects 200 million girls and women around the globe and 23 percent of the Kenya’s populations.

"It's our responsibility as Government to do what it takes to end FGM activities for the sake of our girls and women," said Dr Ruto.

He thanked UNFPA for being a solid and pragmatic partner in the fight against retrogressive activities that undermine efforts to attain gender equality in the country.

“This is why we’ve come together with UNFPA to up the game in the fight against this retrogressive practice,” said the Deputy President.

UNFPA representative Ademola Olajide praised Kenya’s efforts and commitment in the fight against the outdated cultural practice, which is a violation of human rights.

He said it is impressive that in the last two decades, Kenya has made tremendous strides in the empowerment of girls through legislative and policy formulation as well as programmatic interventions that address the pressing needs of girls.

Mr Olajide noted that the enactment of laws such as the Marriage Act 2013 and the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011, are some of the measures that have been put in place by the Government to safeguard the rights of girls.

“Today marks a milestone as we have come up with efforts to join hands with Kenya in finding sustainable development goals that can improve girls and women economic status thus eliminate FGM in this country,” said Mr Olajide.

 

He went on: “It is against this backdrop, UNFPA Kenya, Anti-FGM Board and Ushanga Kenya will build on the commercialization of the culturally symbolic beads, to increase awareness and financially empower local communities to abandon FGM and child marriage while sustainably supporting women and adolescent girls to realize their potential through this End FGM Beads Initiative.”

Gender Affairs Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe said Ushanga Initiative seeks to strengthen business and production capacity among women and improve their competitiveness for beads in local, regional and international markets for sustainable livelihoods.

Ushanga Kenya chairperson Hellen Nkaisery said creating a safe environment where women and girls can thrive and grow to be productive members of the society is critical to the transformation of entrenched social norms.

She said gender biases and inequalities could be tackled by working with all members of the community, reflecting a commitment to empowering women and girls.

“Seven counties; Baringo, Marsabit, Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana and West Pokot, which have embraced the Ushanga Initiative will enlist women through cooperatives to do marketing of beads as well as educate the people on the need to abandon FGM activities in their local communities,” said Ms Nkaisery.

Anti-FGM chairperson Agnes Pareyio said investing in women and girls means breaking the cycle of violence and poverty and contributing to the development of a community and nation.

She said their initiative with UNFPA would also involve counties that have not embraced the Beads Initiative but still practice FGM activities.

Principal Secretaries Josephta Mukobe (Culture) and Ali Noor (Cooperatives) were also present.

Leaders to work together with Development Partners

Deputy President William Ruto has asked leaders to work together with development partners to ensure that there was no duplication of funding of projects in their areas of jurisdictions.

He expressed concern that there had been cases where some projects in the country had been accounted for more than once.

Speaking during the North and Northern Eastern Development Initiative (NEDI) leadership consultative forum at his Karen office, Nairobi, Dr Ruto said leaders must guard against replication of projects in their respective areas.

DP CHAIRS NEDI FORUM

“We do not want a situation where one programme is being accounted for more than once. We must guard against it because it will result in the abuse of resources,” said Dr Ruto.

The Deputy President urged leaders to always take the lead in helping people prioritise projects that have direct impact on their lives besides participating in their implementation.

“The national and county governments should work together with MPs and development partners in the initiation of projects as well as their monitoring to avert any unnecessary photocopying of such programmes,” he said.

He said accountability remained key to successful implementation of development projects that would transform the lives of Kenyans.

Present were National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, Governors Ali Roba (Mandera), John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), World Bank Programme leader for sustainable development Helene Carlsson Rex and several MPs.

At the same time, the Deputy President said there should be efficient flow of information on the implementation of development projects.

He asked Governors and MPs from the NEDI regions to always attend meetings, saying such forums help in oversight and implementation of projects.

Mr Duale said county and national Government's must work together in ensuring that there was no duplication of funding of projects in any part of the country.

“There is serious duplication of funding of projects, especially when it comes to the construction of water pans in some parts of the country. It’s important to give an identification mark to county, national and donor funded projects to differentiate them,” said Mr Duale.

He added: “Our interest is to make sure every coin whether from national, county or donor is used in the right manner and for the intended project.”

Mr Roba said projects should always be evaluated before their implementation, saying such efforts ensured there was no duplication of development programmes.

“It’s nearly impossible for county governments to duplicate projects. Development projects are always highly monitored. There is always value for money. We may have differences among leaders but this cannot amount to duplication of programmes,” said Governor Roba.

On his part, Governor Lonyangapuo called for proper training of officers implementing development projects for accountability purposes.

The Government in collaboration with the World Bank is working to increase investments in transformative and integrated infrastructure and sustainable livelihoods in the NEDI region.

Both the national and county governments will spearhead NEDI. Its success will depend largely on strong collaboration between the stakeholders: the two levels of government, the private sector, civil society organisations and development partners.

Ms Rex urged the Government to eliminate barriers that have made it difficult for the World Bank to initiate prioritized development projects in any part of the country within the stipulated time.
 
“Obstacles which have made it hard for us to initiate projects within the stipulated timeframe should be addressed,” said Ms Rex.

State to release Sh65bn counties cash

Treasury will release Sh65 billion to pay pending bills by end of the month, a meeting of Governors and Deputy President William Ruto has agreed.

The meeting under the auspices of  Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council and chaired by Dr Ruto also agreed to meet the House leadership to resolve the shareable revenue stalemate.

IBEC Meeting

Addressing the press at his Karen Office in the company of Council of Governors, Dr Ruto said Treasury was on the final process of releasing the cash.

However, he said suppliers whose payments have been flagged as ineligible by the Auditor General will have their issues heard and addressed by a special appeal committee in every county.
The Deputy President said the development was in tandem with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on Madaraka Day that called for national and county governments to honour their obligations before the end of June.

The meeting was attended by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Auditor General Edward Ouko, Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Governors Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Samwel Tunai (Narok), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia).

Also in attendance were Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) Chair Jane Kiringai, Deputy Governors Joash Maangi (Kisii) and Titus Ntuchiu (Meru).
Mr Rotich said: “We plan to release the funds by the end of the month. We are fairly done with the process.”

The meeting further agreed to discuss the collapsed talks between the National Assembly and the Senate for shareable revenues to counties next Monday.


“Legally, we have to start afresh. However, we have taken the initiative to progress under the guidance of the Deputy President,” said Mr Oparanya, who added that counties are under pressure to finalise their budgets by the end of the month. 

The meeting on Monday will also be attended by Speakers of both Houses and the Parliamentary leadership.

He exuded optimism that an agreement on the division of revenue will be reached in the next week’s engagement.

“We appreciate the fact that counties are under pressure to finalise on their budgets. We therefore look forward to taking the shortest time possible to make devolved units’ operations run without any hiccups,” added Dr Ruto.

He lauded the leaders for working together in ensuring that the sticky issue of outstanding bills is ironed out.

“Every arm of government will sort out these bills to alleviate challenges contractors and suppliers have been facing,” he told the meeting. The pending bills committee will look at the contentious Sh37 billion that the Auditor General flagged out.

Mr Oparanya said the report on county assets and liabilities was ready, arguing that the ministry of lands will provide expertise on land owned by counties, and their approximate worth. The exercise, he said, would be supervised by the ministry of devolution.

The two Houses have failed to agree on the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 with Senators pushing for Sh335 billion against Sh310 billion proposed by their National Assembly counterparts.
The figure by the Senate has been supported by the Council of Governors and the Commission on Revenue Allocation on the increased allocation. However, Members of Parliament endorsed figures provided by the Treasury.