William Ruto took his oath as Kenya’s fifth President on September 13th, 2022 at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi after being declared the winner by the electoral commission on August 12th.
This Wednesday, September 13th marks the new administration’s one year in office.
At the time of taking over from President Uhuru, William Ruto was confronted with a crashing economy and a record high cost of living which every Kenyan felt its weight in their pockets.
Top and immediate interventions by the new regime had to be how to immediately stabilize the economy as well as putting in place interventions to lower the cost of living. Some of these included:
The Hustler Fund
Also known as The Financial Inclusion Fund, is a loan project led by the Kenyan government which provides instant loans to Kenyan citizens upon request. The program was launched by President William Ruto in late 2022, to provide at least $420 million in loans. This year, President Ruto launched the second phase of the fund where groups eligible can borrow from Sh10,000 to Sh200,000.
Fertilisers to Farmers
According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), access to government-subsidized fertiliser among sampled farmers by the think tank stood at 49% in July 2023 compared to 43% and 29% reported in May and March 2023, respectively. The government strategy to register farmers nationwide help in the distribution of fertilisers to every part of the country.
Cost of LPG Gas
Cooking gas prices have dropped below the Sh3,000 mark for the 13-kg cylinder for the first time since July after the State scrapped three taxes on the commodity. President William Ruto’s administration, through the Finance Act, exempted cooking gas from the 8.0 percent Value Added Tax (VAT), the 3.5 percent Import Declaration Fees and the 2.0 percent Railway Development Levy.
The government has zero-rated staple food. Kenyans rely heavily on maize and wheat as staple food and the Finance Act 2023 zero rates these food items. The burden of the high cost of living brought about by the high prices of food has been significantly lowered, with today a 2kg packed of Unga going for Sh 180, down from Sh 220.
Stabilizing the Debt Crisis
Upon taking oath, President Ruto noted that there was a dire need to mitigate the ballooning debt ceiling, noting that his government is committed to cutting on borrowing. As an alternative to borrowing, President Ruto noted that the nation would bank on revenue collection to sustain its operations, urging Kenyans to embrace the taxation measures he had taken.
President William Ruto tasked all public institutions to develop a framework that will ensure all outstanding pension liabilities are paid up in full within the next two years. Ruto noted that it is wrong for institutions to collect money from contributors and not remit it to pension schemes or SACCOs.
President Ruto signed the County Allocation of Revenue Bill and Equalization Fund Appropriation Bill 2023, paving the way for the release of county monies. The Bill will be in place for the next five years. At least 34 constituencies are benefiting as the Equalization Fund Appropriation Bill 2023 is now law. The Bill proposed the issuance of monies out of the Equalisation Fund to counties in which marginalized areas fall for the provision of crucial basic services.
BodaBoda Care is a comprehensive program, that offers a one-year free health cover specifically tailored for the boda boda sector, recognizing their indispensable role in bridging the transportation gap. By providing crucial insurance coverage to this sector, the government demonstrates its unwavering commitment to expanding insurance coverage and ensuring access to quality healthcare for all Kenyans.
President Ruto directed that the beneficiaries of the social safety net program (Inua Jamii) will now receive their money monthly. In the past, the government made payments into the accounts of beneficiaries after every two months. Inua Jamii programme is the government’s flagship National Safety Net Programme whose objectives are to uplift the lives of the poor and vulnerable citizens through regular and reliable bi-monthly cash transfers.
The Government is investing in the digital economy to create more opportunities for the youth. President William Ruto said the Government is keen on making Kenya an ICT innovation hub to unlock the digital economy potential. The National ICT Policy, the Kenya Start-Up Act, Data Protection Act, Digital Economy Blueprint and the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act and the Konza Technopolis project are the key areas of focus.
Kenya has taken on a bold green growth initiative that aims to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. President Ruto says this comprehensive plan also includes promoting green manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, eco-friendly urbanization, and green transportation. Steps currently being undertaken include the introduction of electric vehicles, tree planting and green energy.