• President Kenyatta says focus on implementing Kenya Vision 2030 and its medium-term plan, the Big Four Agenda, have been bearing fruit.
•The Big Four covers food security, affordable housing, growth of manufacturing and universal healthcare.
Despite Covid-19 the government is successfully implementing key projects in the Big Four agenda.
That's what President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Thursday when he delivered the his seventh State of the Nation address before Parliament.
He assured the nation that the agenda, which covers food security, affordable housing, growth of manufacturing and universal healthcare, is on track,
The President announced the Big Four plan in December 2017.
Questions have persisted over realisation of the Big Four because of the
Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted the economy.
High-level corruption sapping the economy is another concern. Both the public and private sectors worry that looting of public funds could derail key Big Four projects.
The President wants the agenda up and running by 2022 so his successor an continue to implement it.
“Most of the major economic sectors evidenced impressive growth last year, including manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and financial services,” the head of state said.
The Covid-19 pandemic that has threatened to derail the health sector, Uhuru said, has brought to the fore the urgent need to upscale the Universal Health Coverage pillar of the Big Four.
The national government, in partnership with the county governments, started piloting the UHC programme in the counties of Nyeri, Machakos, Kisumu and Isiolo last year in preparation for a nationwide rollout.
“I am pleased to report the pilot programme for Universal Health Care was successfully implemented. From it we have isolated critical learning points to enhance my administration’s health policy priorities,” Uhuru said.
In manufacturing, the government continues to invest in infrastructure and skills that support growth of the sector.
“As we seek to grow our industries and create jobs in the manufacturing sector, we must of necessity have the manpower, with requisite skills to match the needs of industry,” Uhuru said.
The sector is among the worst-hit by Covid-19. At least 30,000 direct jobs have been lost, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers says.
The government is pushing the 'Buy Kenya Build Kenya' initiative to support local industries to make up for disruptions in the global supply chain.
Under the Big Four, the government's goal is to increase the manufacturing sector's contribution to the GDP to 15 per cent and above by 2022, from the current 9.2 per cent.
It also aims to create jobs annually, increase foreign direct investment and improve the ease of doing business.
Food security is also being well implemented, the President assured the nation, saying measures to achieve food security are in place.
“The implementation of the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy is well underway. We have also successfully reformed the Agricultural Inputs Subsidy Programme,” he said.
In housing, the government is on course in implementing a number of affordable housing projects, backed by the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Corporation, which started lending in September.
This was after it was licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya.
The corporation had earlier received seed money of Sh25 billion and Sh10 billion from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, respectively.
“This corporation will improve mortgage affordability, increase the number of qualifying borrowers and result in the expansion of the primary mortgage market and home ownership.
"It will also deepen the capital markets through large-scale, medium to long-term refinance options," the President said.
The Big Four Agenda is among the yardsticks for measuring President Kenyatta's leadership success when his term ends in 2022.
(Edited by V. Graham)