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Kenyatta speaks on graft, economic outlook in State of nation address

A much-awaited Kenya State of the Nation address, saw President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking strongly on matters including the country’s war on graft, the Big Four agenda and the need for leaders to work collaboratively.

Kenyatta says his government will continue a crackdown on corruption that has brought some of his most senior ministers into investigators’ sights.

Graft, which has been described as a threat to national security, has been a lingering concern for Kenyans. According to Kenyatta, the authorities are intensifying efforts to curb this, to make more funds available for the president’s Big Four agenda – a plan to boost manufacturing and farm output, as well as access to housing and healthcare as the government struggles to contain borrowing in line with International Monetary Fund recommendations.

The anti-graft campaign has caused divisions within the ruling Jubilee Party, with lawmakers allied to Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, accusing his opponents of sabotage and an attempt to undermine his ambition to succeed Kenyatta in 2022.

To facilitate implementation of the Big Four, Kenyatta urges the Kenyan parliament to fast-track the mediation of the land value index laws (Amendment) bill, the physical planning bill, the irrigation bill, the warehouse receipt system bill and Kenya roads bill

Kenyatta says he will not slow down in the achievement of these goals as well as those under the Building Bridges Initiative.

In addressing infrastructure, economic outlook and living conditions, Kenyatta notes in his address, that households and businesses connected to the national power grid had grown from 2.2 million when he took office in March 2013 to 7.1 million customers currently representing a 222% connectivity rate over the six-year period. The jump has largely been propelled by power connection subsidies under the last mile connectivity project targeting rural households.

Kenya’s total power capacity surged 53 per cent over the six-year period to the current 2,712 megawatts (MW) from 1,768 MW in 2013. This upsurge was powered by fresh injections of Olkaria geothermal plants

(280 MW) in 2014, Turkana wind farm (310MW) last year and Garissa solar (55 MW) last year.

On trade and key exports, Kenyatta addressed existing issues in Kenya’s coffee market “My administration has prioritised reforms in the coffee sub-sector and implemented numerous interventions emanating from the recommendations of the Coffee taskforce. These include the ambitious rehabilitation of 500 pulping stations (factories) in 31 coffee-growing Counties. We have set up a Sh3 billion Cherry Advance Revolving Fund to be operational from July 1, 2019. Consequently, all coffee farmers across the country will be able to access the cherry advance at a modest interest rate of 3%. Kenya’s economy is strong and is expected to grow by 6.3 per cent in 2019 with improvements in the execution of the Big Four, Kenyatta says, highlighting the role of micro-medium enterprises in spurring the country’s growth.

Kenyatta also spoke on access to affordable housing for Kenyans informing that his government is well on track to fulfil this.

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