- President Ruto issued directives touching on the Judiciary, CRBs, Mombasa port, NHIF contributions and more.
President William Ruto was sworn-in Tuesday and immediately hit the ground running in his speech by outlining 13 key directives that his administration will undertake immediately. Most of the policy changes are a fulfillment of promises he made during his campaigns.
Here are some of President Ruto's pronouncements.
1. Graduated NHIF payments
President Ruto announced that contributions made by Kenyans to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will now depend on the income of an individual. This is good news for low-income earners as it means they can now pay less. Currently, workers earning over Sh100,000 pay a fixed monthly contribution of Sh1,700 while the lowest paid workers contributes Sh150.
2. Six rejected judges, funding for Judiciary
To further demonstrate his commitment to the independence of the Judiciary, President Ruto said he will today appoint the six judges already nominated for appointment to the Court of Appeal three years ago by the Judicial Service Commission. These judges had been rejected by his predecessor, former President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The President said he shall preside over their swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. The rejected six were Justices George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule, Joel Ngugi and Weldon Korir; as well as Mombasa chief magistrate Evans Makori and High Court deputy registrar Judith Omange.
Additionally, he said his administration will step up budgetary allocation to the Judiciary by 3 billion annually for the next five years. These resources, he said, will support the bottom-up scaling of justice by increasing the number of small claims courts from the current 25 to 100.
3. End of fuel, Unga subsidies
President Ruto said fuel and food subsidies had not borne any fruit, noting that the fuel subsidy alone cost taxpayers a total of Sh144 billion, with Sh60 billion being used in the last four months.
He said there was an attempt to subsidise Unga in the run-up to the election, a programme that gobbled up Sh7 billion in one month with no impact.
The President said in addition to being very costly, consumption subsidy interventions are prone to abuse, distort markets and create uncertainty, including artificial shortages of the very products being subsidised.
4. Financial autonomy of the police
President Ruto said the National Police Services' operational autonomy has been undermined by continued financial dependence on the Office of the President and promised to change the situation. He has now ordered that the budget of the National Police Service (NPS) be transferred from the Office of the President go under the Inspector-General as the accounting officer.
5. Provincial administration to keep off politics
The President assured all public officers, especially those in provincial administration, that his government will respect their professional service, adding that no public servants including chiefs and their assistants will be required to run political errands for any political party or formation.
6. Slashed fertiliser prices
The President announced they have already made arrangements to make 1.4 million bags of fertilizer available at Sh3,500 for a 50kg bag, down from the current Sh6,500. The new prices will be effected next week.
He appealed to county governments in Eastern, Central and Western regions, to ensure that the fertiliser is available to farmers.
7. End blacklisting by CRBs
The President said his administration will shift the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) framework from its current practice of arbitrary and punitive blacklisting of borrowers which denies borrowers credit, President Ruto said. CRBs will now work towards adopting a new system of credit scoring that provides borrowers with an opportunity to manage their creditworthiness. This, he said, will eliminate blacklisting.
8. Review CBK guidelines on Sh1m transactions
The President said he had taken note of traders' complaints of the burden involved in cash transactions exceeding Sh1 million. He said there was a scope to make compliance less burdensome on genuine business transactions.
President Ruto said he has been assured by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) that works on how to ease this burden without compromising the security of the financial system is underway.
9. 'Hustler' Fund for MSMEs
President Ruto said his administration shall implement the "Hustler Fund" promise, which was dedicated to the capitalisation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through chamas, saccos and cooperatives to make credit available on affordable terms that do not require collateral.
10. Low-cost housing
To deal with the huge challenge of youth unemployment, the President said his administration will roll out a social and affordable low-cost housing program, targeting an average of 250,000 units a year.
This, he said will create opportunities in the entire job market and they will engage TVET institutions to provide the necessary skills to enable the Jua Kali industry to supply standardized products for our housing program.
11. Clearing cargo reverts to Mombasa
The President today issued a directive that will see clearing of all goods and other attendant operational issues revert to the port of Mombasa, thus reversing an earlier order by former President Uhuru Kenyatta. This, he said, will restore thousands of jobs in the city of Mombasa.
12. Prioritise pending bills
The President said his government will give priority to expeditiously resolving pending bills so that it can meet its obligations and facilitate better economic performance.
In the coming weeks, President Ruto said, he shall advise government creditors on the mechanism for resolving outstanding payments.
13. Review CBC
The newly sworn in President said he will establish taskforce that will subject the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) to public participation. The President also promised to solve the double transition nightmare of the Standard Eight under the 8-4-4 system and Grade Six learners under the CBC to secondary schools in January.
Dr Ruto said there is robust discussion in the country especially on the implementation of the CBC.
Check out our other coverage of President William Ruto's inauguration below: