President Uhuru Kenyatta today issued two policy directives to remove bottlenecks that have caused a reduction in overall spending and business activity in the economy.
The first of the policy directives is an order to Government Accounting Officers to settle all pending payments that do not have audit queries on or before the end of the current Government Financial Year on 30th June 2019.
The President further directed the National Treasury to secure full compliance of the directive on clearing of pending payments. He also called upon County Governments to follow suit.
The Head of State, who spoke at the Narok Stadium when he led the 56th Madaraka Day celebrations, directed that going forward, all payments for supplies made to National and County Governments be processed and made promptly and on a priority basis.
He said the directive is in line with the Government’s policy to promote the local industry and enterprise, “Buy Kenya Build Kenya”.
The President said the Government is the largest consumer of goods and services in the economy and many small businesses are built to service this demand.
“Unfortunately, pending payments have negatively affected many businesses, particularly those whose bulk of capital is now locked in non-payment. This has also reduced overall spending and business activity in our economy,” said the President.
The second policy directive regards the importation of goods by small and medium-size traders. The President directed the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards to honour pre-shipment inspections done by KEBS appointed agents.
“Imported goods, therefore, should not be subjected to additional inspection at the Port of entry except for cases legitimately suspected not to conform to the set standards,” said the President.
He said the directive is intended to strike a balance between enhancing the ease of doing business in Kenya on one hand and protection of the public from harmful imports.
President Kenyatta said he issued the directive on the importation of goods after receiving consistent feedback from wananchi and the business community that KEBS has, despite its good intentions and in lawful discharge of its mandate, constrained the importation of goods by small and medium enterprises.
The President said the Government will also initiate business tax reforms and the restructuring of port logistics operations.
“All efforts will be made to guarantee the predictability of business operations,” said the President.
The President said the directives he has issued are meant to support and deepen the positive growth the country has achieved and will provide tangible opportunities and benefits to the people.
In his speech, the President said Kenya has made great strides on the economic front even though Kenyans continue to experience the struggles that usually come during moments of change.
He said Kenya is on a consistent march forward and is transforming into the nation that the forefathers prayed and fought for.
“Today, Kenya is a country of consequence. We anchor the fragile peace and security in our region. We are a generous country that works hard to build peace among our neighbours,” said the President.
He said the country’s economy is the largest and most diverse in the region, reflecting the hard work, strength of character and innovative spirit of its people.
The President noted that Kenya’s emerging technology companies attract more investment than any other country in Africa.
He said Kenya stands tall in athletics and boasts of a choice tourism market. The President said Kenyans in the diaspora continue to shatter barriers, joining ranks of corporate executives in world capitals.
“I can report that last year, our national cake expanded by 6.3%, one of the highest growth rates in the world, and, in consequence, over 800,000 new jobs were created, especially in the informal sector,” said the President.
He said Kenya’s foreign direct investment increased from Shs 35 Billion in 2013 to Shs 200 Billion in 2017.
“This is the outcome of the strong reform agenda my Administration has embraced over the last six years to boost investment and create jobs,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said the Government is working hard to deliver on its Big Four Agenda which was informed by a desire to ensure those who are struggling benefit from the economic growth.
He said his Administration is working hard towards the realization of the Universal Health Coverage so that Kenyans do not spend their earnings and savings on medical bills.
The President said the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund will avail Shs 1 Billion towards support for cancer treatment facilities in the country to ease the exorbitant costs that people incur in the treatment of cancer related ailments.
He said the Government is also reinvigorating the manufacturing sector to create more jobs and wealth.
The Head of State said his administration adopted the Housing Pillar as a key element of the Big Four agenda in order to restore dignity and give pride in one owning a decent modern home.
He said the Government has put in place measures to ensure no Kenyan dies of hunger.
“Going forward, we shall continue to monitor the food supply situation and ensure that adequate stocks are available to meet local demand,” said the President.
Deputy President William Ruto said Narok County has got its share of development implemented by the Jubilee Government.
The DP said that was why locals had come out in their thousands to celebrate the national celebrations of Madaraka Day.
The Government is implementing projects worth Shs10 billion in Narok County alone.
Some of the projects include the 82km Narok-Sekenan Road, the gateway to the world famous Mara which is now 72% complete and Mau Narok – Kisiriri Road which is under construction.
Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and his Kajiado counterpart Joseph ole Lenku also spoke at the event.