President Kenyatta: My Big Four plan for economic development
President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled what he termed as “The Big Four” on Tuesday even as he emphasised a new outlook geared towards shifting the country’s mindset from politics to economic development.
During his Jamhuri Day speech at the Kasarani stadium as Kenya marked 54 years of independence, President Kenyatta said that his administration would focus on food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare as key pillars during his second term in office.
While placing heavy emphasis on the expansion of the manufacturing sector, the Head of State said that his administration would focus on boosting four manufacturing sub-sectors; the Blue Economy, Agro-Processing, Leather and Textiles.
“Let me emphasise that political stability and harmonious labour relations are the bedrock on which we will achieve a robust manufacturing sector,” said President Kenyatta.
Here, the president reiterated the need for local manufacturing by seeking to increase the fishing industry seven fold, and directing that the Defence Forces procure all leather products from the local industry, effective the financial year 2018/2019.
“As part of the Big Four, our tea, coffee, meat, fruits and vegetables will be processed locally. This way, we will obtain more value from our produce, and create more jobs and wealth for Kenyans,” he said.
In achieving this pillar, the president said his government would work on cutting the cost of off-peak power to heavy industry, make arrangements with expatriates versed in the manufacturing sector so as to ensure training of Kenyans is achieved and ensure the protection of intellectual property rights.
To try and protect local products and ideas, Mr. Kenyatta directed that counterfeit products be destroyed.
“I have directed that the Kenya Revenue Authority,and the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Authority, destroy counterfeits on seizure. Any public officers found colluding to frustrate this process, will be summarily dismissed and prosecuted,” he said.
Shelter, Medical Care and Food security
The pillar of shelter under the “Big Four” saw the president promise to make to make “every Kenyan a property owner” and that by the end of his second term, half a million more Kenyans will own homes.
“Under my Big Four plan, for the same amount of money you pay today as rent, you will be able to own your home, and it will be a decent house, built to modern standards,” he said.
According to the president, this would be achieved by reducing the cost on mortgages and construction materials.
He also promised to secure universal medical care by undertaking major policy and administrative reforms in the medical sector.
“That plan requires strong collaboration between the NHIF (National Hospital Insurance Fund) and our private sector insurance providers. We will review the rules governing private insurers, to bring the cost of cover within the reach of every Kenyan,” said the president.
On food security, President Kenyatta said that the government will bring targeted taxation to put idle arable land to use.
“The Ministries of Agriculture and Irrigation will publish terms and conditions by which commercial farmers will be able to lease idle agricultural land owned by the government, the better to raise our production of strategic crops,” he proclaimed.
“The Big Four will create jobs, which will enable our people to meet their basic needs. Jobs will transform the lives of our people from that of hardship and want, to new lives of greater comfort and well being.”
The president also reiterated that achieving the Big Four required skilled Kenyans thus necessitating the implementation of the new education curriculum and enabling industry-led technical and vocational education and training.