It’ll take at least two years to fix economic mess, Prime CS Mudavadi says

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi fields questions from members of the National Assembly

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi fields questions from members of the National Assembly on April 26, 2023. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Kenyans should brace themselves for even tougher times ahead because it will take at least two years to turn the economy around, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has said.

Mr Mudavadi told MPs during question time on the floor of the House yesterday that fixing the country’s problems would not happen immediately “like making instant coffee”.

While responding to a question by Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan on the efforts the State was making to lower the cost of basic goods, Mr Mudavadi said the government has no control over some factors contributing to the high cost of living.

“We are in this for the long haul,” he said, citing “the public debt and the Ukraine-Russia war” as factors contributing to the cost of living crisis. 

“We have no capacity to determine when the war will end. We have to be realistic ... it will take a bit of time but ... no situation is permanent,” said the CS.

Among the steps being taken by the government to lower the high cost of living, he said, are waiving duty for imported food items, increasing agricultural production for staple foods, cutting down on imports, and planting drought-resistant crops.

Duty waivers

On the duty waivers for food imports, Mr Mudavadi said the move will help to bridge the food stock deficit and stabilise prices.

To this end, he said, the government had granted a duty waiver for the importation of 1.4 million tonnes of white maize, 600,000 tonnes of rice, and 500,000 tonnes of yellow maize to be used for the production of animal feed.

Duty had also been waived for 200,000 tonnes of soy beans, 300,000 tonnes of soy bean meal, 1,600 tonnes of assorted protein concentrate and 40,000 tonnes of feed additive, which took effect in February and will go on until August when the country is expecting its first harvest.

Mr Mudavadi said more than 250 tonnes of assorted drought-tolerant seeds worth Sh50 million have been distributed in Embu, Meru, Makueni, Machakos, Nyeri, Siaya., Tharaka Nithi, Murang’a and Busia counties.

Banditry attacks

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said the government has collected evidence on a number of politicians involved in the funding of banditry attacks and nabbed a senior commander of bandits in the ongoing operation in the North Rift region.

Prof Kindiki also confirmed that the government has apprehended a senior member of the killer gang. The suspect, he said, had a hand in organising a series of attacks in Kalokol Hills in Turkana County.

Also appearing before the Senate was Lands Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru and his Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs counterpart Salim Mvurya. Mr Njeru was asked to explain measures the government has put in place to secure public land.

“We are already going on with the national titling programme ... to secure land belonging to learning institutions,” Mr Njeru told the lawmakers. 

He said the government has initiated a national lands value index for 22 counties to ensure that there is proper compensation whenever the government undertakes national projects. It will also inform investment decisions made by the government and private enterprises.

Mr Mvurya said the government has identified a total of 970 minerals in the country after carrying out a geophysical survey. He announced plans to establish value-addition stations in the counties.