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Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) meeting at the Karen Residence, Nairobi. 18 Feb, 2020

County Governments would receive Sh316.5 billion in the next financial year, the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto has agreed.

The meeting said the figure, which is equivalent to last year’s, was arrived at following depressed collections in the country. 

Speaking during the IBEC meeting in Karen, Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) Chairperson Jane Kiringai said the National Government would retain a reduced figure of Sh1.54 Trillion. 

“Based on the continued underperformance of ordinary (shareable) revenue, the budget committee of IBEC recommends that the allocations to each level of Government be maintained at the Financial Year 2019/2020,” she said.

Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council meeting at the Karen Residence Nairobi

The CRA boss said the commission was well aware that the financial year 2020/2021 division of revenue was being made in a constrained fiscal framework owing to the depressed revenue, high debt repayment and rising wage bill. 

Ms Kiringai noted that the Commission was in agreement with the budget committee of IBEC that the shareable revenue to each level of government in the financial year 2020/2021 be maintained at the financial year 2019/2020 levels.

She called on both levels of Government to exercise austerity to tame unnecessary expenditures.

On his part, Dr Ruto asked counties to match their budget to the country's revenue to ensure that the country does not spend more that it can collect. 

Dr Ruto said: "We have lowered our revenue projections so that we try to live within our means. We have been projecting resources that we cannot collect.”

At the same time the Council of Governors agreed to meet the Controller of Budget to resolve the stalemate on the release of funds.

The Deputy President called for a concerted effort among the relevant stakeholders to address issues that hinder the management of pending bills. 

He said: "Treasury, members of the Council of Governors and representatives from county assembly should meet and agree on a way forward." 

Present were Chairman of the Council of Governors and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang'o and Chief Registrar Anne Amadi. 

Other were Governors Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Stephen Sang (Nandi), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu) and Stanley Kiptis (Baringo). 

The Governors said some counties are unable to manage recurrent expenditures due to the issue of pending bills. 

Mr Wa Iria called for speedy processing of county funds meant for essential services and salaries by reducing red-tape.

Mr Sang said: "It is insensitive for us to subject junior staff to untold suffering yet this are the same people needed to serve." 

On his part, Mr Ottichilo said delayed disbursement of funds had paralysed health services in Vihiga County as health workers had gone on strike.  

Ms Nyakang'o said she was ready to work with the Governors to resolve the issue.

She dismissed claims that her office was deliberately withholding funds to frustrate counties. 

Ms Nyakang'o said: "We are not holding any funds, we will clear all the pending releases." 

Mr Yatani said there was need to come up with a formula that would avert perennial delayed disbursement of funds to counties.  

He said: "We must agree on a mechanism where employees do not suffer and also ensure essential services like health are not affected."

DP Ruto visits survivors of West Pokot landslide

Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government is mobilising resources to help the victims of the West Pokot landslide.

He said it was unfortunate that many lives had been lost in the incident.

DP Ruto visits West Pokot victims

“The Government is working closely with various agencies to ensure that we do not lose more lives,” he said.

Dr Ruto spoke on Monday in Kapenguria County Teaching and Referral Hospital when he visited patients and victims of the tragedy that hit Tapach, Weiwei and Batei Wards.

He was accompanied by West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, MPs Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria), Peter Lochakapong (Sigor), Mark Lomunokol (Kacheliba), David Pkosing (Pokot South) and Woman Representative Lilian Cheptoo.

“The Government would support all the affected families,” said the Deputy President, adding that an extra helicopter would be put on the ground to help in terms of logistics.

While lauding the medical staff of the Kapenguria County Teaching and Referral Hospital for rising up to the occasion to save lives, Dr Ruto revealed that at least 40 doctors from the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital had also been mobilised to attend to the survivors of the tragedy.

Governor Lonyangapuo noted that the situation was dire, and called on the well-wishers to offer their help, noting that at least 20,000 people had been displaced.

“There is an urgent need for an upscale of humanitarian assistance,” explained the Governor. “We have never experienced a disaster of such a massive magnitude.”

Currently, a multi-agency team comprising the Kenya Defence Forces, the Kenya Police, Kenya Red Cross and Disaster Management Units from different counties are helping save the situation.

Mr Pkosing thanked the Deputy President for standing with the residents of West Pokot during “these low moments”.

In a meeting with the County Government of West Pokot and the multi-agency team, Dr Ruto disclosed that food supplies would be increased to meet the needs of the affected.

He asked the County and National Governments to work together in moving the people from vulnerable areas to safer grounds.

Doing Business in Kenya 2020 Report

Deputy President William Ruto said, Kenya has to do more to make it a preferred gateway to Africa for investors.

He said, the country must adopt a radical and progressive stance in reforming the business and regulatory environment.
 
“Intensified collaboration between the Government, development partners and the private sector would firmly drive Kenya into being the continent’s business hub,” he said during the launch of the World Bank’s Doing Business in Kenya 2020 Report on Thursday in Nairobi.
 
Dr Ruto said despite being ranked 56th globally out of 190 countries, first worldwide in the Protecting Minority Investors indicator and third in Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya should not rest on its laurels if it is to rewrite its economic trajectory.
 
By putting in more effort in pro-business policies and programmes, the Deputy President noted that more international flows would be realised, and more jobs and wealth generated.

Doing Business in Kenya 2020 Report
Leaders present during the function were East African Community CS Adan Mohammed, World Bank Group, Finance Competitiveness and Innovation Regional Focal Point Augustine Langyintuo, Development Partners Representative Julius Court, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Kenya Private Sector Alliance CEO Carole Kariuki.

Dr Ruto said the Government had upped its efforts in not only making it easy for businesses to flourish but also towards turning Kenya into a home to a thriving army of talented and innovative entrepreneurs.

“Positioning on its own is not enough, strategic intent must go with action. This is what led to the President’s directive in 2014 to embed Doing Business as part of the Government’s deliverables in attracting investments, supporting the informal sector and maintaining our competitiveness,” said Dr Ruto.

He said Kenya had for the second consecutive year emerged as the third most reformed country in the world in the business ranking.

He said the country’s target was to reach the top 50 by 2020, adding that this “would place the country in a catalytic position in guaranteeing investment flows from around the globe”.

The Deputy President noted that poor business environment in any respect hurts millions as it diminishes opportunities for growth.

“The deliberate and continued improvement of physical infrastructure is all part of this master-plan of driving our economic  development,” he explained.

Mr Court said development partners were impressed at the Government’s commitment to providing conducive environment for investors.

“Investor environment continues to improve in Kenya and we must appreciate the efforts of the Government on this,” said Mr Court.

On his part, Mr Langyintuo observed that it was impressive that for the last five years, Kenya had continued to achieve steady improvement in the ease of doing business.

CS Mohammed said small and medium-sized enterprises had greatly benefitted from the Government’s reforms that have led to its improvement in the ease of doing business in various categories.

“We have tremendous progress and we are now focusing on the improvement of services at the Port of Mombasa, construction companies and lands in terms of property,” said Mr Mohammed.

Ms Kariuki said KEPSA would continue to partner with the Government in ensuring conducive environment for investments so as to further improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Sanitation Conference 2019

The Government is investing over Sh80 billion in the next three years for rehabilitation and expansion of sewerage infrastructure in the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said. 
He said the investment upon completion in 2022, will increase the national access to sewerage services to about 40 percent.

At the same time, the President directed the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation to pursue incentives aimed at increasing use of recycled water to expand irrigation.

The President said safe wastewater disposal supports food security through use of recycled water for irrigation.

official opening of the Kenya Sanitation Conference 2019

In a speech read for him by Deputy President William Ruto during the official opening of Water and Sanitation Conference, held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi,

President Kenyatta said there was need to reduce water wastage in the country.

He said the Government was also strengthening regulatory institutions such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Water Resources Authority (WRA) to further empower them in the enforcement of regulations to avoid pollution of our water resources. 

“Industries are required to include pre-treatment facilities in their premises to ensure acceptable standard of waste water is discharged into the sewerage system and to the environment and the rivers,” said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta urged the Water Services Providers through the Council of Governors (CoG) to upscale waste water management through use of prudent methods, including swift responses to damages on sewer lines and related installations to curb spillage of raw sewerage into water ways.

The Head of State said major pollution also emanates from improper disposal of solid waste, especially in the cities and towns. 

“Dumping of domestic and other solid waste on the river banks is not a solution and must be discouraged,” said President Kenyatta.

He said sensitization of water and sanitation consumers at all levels was another intervention equally important to enhance sanitation standards.

President Kenyatta noted that children in primary and secondary schools needed an early introduction to the best practices of water usage so as to avoid tendencies that could lead to wastage and pollution. 
“In this regard, I am directing the Ministry of Education to introduce a compulsory curriculum on water and sanitation in all schools,” he said.

The Head of State expressed concern that the rate of increasing access to water and sanitation services has been progressive albeit slow.

He said the current access to clean safe water was 62 percent while average national sewerage coverage stood at 25 percent.

 The President noted that the Government envisages 80 percent water coverage and 40 percent sanitation by the year 2022 and universal coverage by 2030.

The Head of State said that access to reasonable standards of sanitation was a basic right for all citizens in the country and the world in general.

 “Access to improved sanitation is an ideal yardstick to measure the quality of life.  Kenya endeavors to find her rightful place among the community of nations,” said President Kenyatta.

The Head of State noted that the country requires an annual budgetary allocation of Sh 100 billion for the maintenance and rehabilitation of Water and Sanitation infrastructure.

He said this year’s bumper allocation of Sh 66 billion towards the Sector has been achieved through rationalization across the entire Budget.

Present were Cabinet Secretaries Simon Chelugui (Water, Sanitation and Irrigation) and his East African Community and Regional Development counterpart Adan Mohammed.
 
Others were Senate and National Assembly chairpersons of Committees on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Paul Githiomo and Kareke Mbiuki and Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu.
 
Mr Chelugui said his ministry was targeting one million of land under irrigation in the country by the year 2022.
 
He said the Government’s efforts to reclaim riparian land besides protecting water catchment areas remain key in attaining water for irrigation for the dams being constructed across the country.
 
Mr Mbiuki and Mr Githiomo regretted that only 30 percent of Kenyans have access to proper sanitation, noting that more efforts must be made to improve the situation.
 
“We must implement various strategies to ensure Kenyans get access to universal water by the year 2022,” said Mr Mbiuki.

Food Safety and Quality Standards

Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government is committed to the development of the country’s food safety and quality standards to safeguard the health of consumers.

He said the Government is adopting scientific and innovative food safety management systems to not only protect consumers but also ensure fair trade practices in the production of food.

Dr Ruto said the relevant Government agencies are working together to ensure food safety throughout the various stages in food production.

He said: “The ratification of food fortification by the Kenya Food Fortification Agency in our country, is a milestone in the standardization of nutritional content improvement of processed food.”

DP Addressing stakeholders during the official opening of the 23rd Session of the FAO WHO Coordinating Committee for Africa

He added: “Similar to this is the establishment of the Kenya National Food Safety Coordination Committee, which takes a multi-agency approach to safety along the entire food value chain, ensuring farm-to-fork integrity in food production.”

The Deputy President made the remarks while officially opening the 23rd Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Coordinating Committee for Africa held at a Nairobi hotel.

Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), a joint food standards program of the FAO and WHO, which has six regional coordinating committees including the Africa Region Codex Coordinating Committee (CCAFRICA), runs the session.

The five days event brings together over 300 delegates from 49 African Region Codex members and members from the rest of the world.

Dr Ruto said investment in food management safety through regulations, laboratories, surveillance and monitoring will ensure the consumer’s health is not threatened by unsafe food.

The Deputy President called for increased funding towards food safety management systems arguing that the food value and supply chains are complex hence pose a challenge to the safety of food we consume.

He said: “The Codex Alimentarius Commission deserves our support.  Sustainable funding through FAO and WHO is indispensable.”

The Deputy President challenged the Africa’s food scientists to spearhead Codex’s ambitious food safety agenda for the continent.

He also challenged the African Union (AU) to join the league of dependable donors by allocating more resources to food safety management initiatives noting financial constrains has resulted to lack of scientific data of Africa’s food safety.

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the session was a good forum for the various stakeholders in the food production chain to come up with suitable food safety polices.

Mr Kiunjuri said: “It is my expectation that these distinguished delegates will take advantage of the wealth of knowledge brought together at this session to come up with practical solutions to enhance consumer confidence in the food that is traded across Africa and the world.”

Kenya’s WHO representative Rudi Eggers said food safety has over the years gained importance due to its health and economic significance.