Deputy President William Ruto, the Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate, has expanded his economic model to include counties, betting on the ambitious blueprint to reinvigorate “an economy on its knees”.
He has also outlined programmes that he said will deliver more than 54 million Kenyans from economic suffering if he wins the August 9 election.
The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leader said the new-look economic blueprint will put all 47 county governments at the heart of their economic revolution.
Counties will sign economic charters specific to their jurisdictions and list their economic priority programmes that his administration will address.
DP Ruto said the charters will be signed within the next 45 days, with 42 counties set to follow Trans Nzoia, Busia, Bungoma, Nyeri and Meru in signing them.
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“We have given the team 45 days to make sure we have done all the county economic charters, because Kenya Kwanza intends to sign an economic charter with every county on their priorities so that when we take over government we will hit the ground running from day one,” said Dr Ruto yesterday at his office in Karen, Nairobi.
“The charters will [allow] Kenyans to speak to the issues they want their next government to deal with. We promised the bottom-up model and this is what these economic fora in the counties is all about. It is going to inform the Kenya Kwanza manifesto and economic blueprint.”
His economic team will be led by David Ndii and includes Justus Kariuki Mate (Democratic Party), Judy Muhia (The Service Party), Maurice Muthama (Maendeleo Chap Chap), Ruth Muthoni Mwathi (Tujibebe Wakenya Party), Edward Mwachinga (Pamoja African Alliance) and Dr Joyce Nyamweya (Chama Cha Kazi).
The team is expected to create a framework for setting up and implementing a Sh50 billion yearly ‘Hustlers fund’, which will facilitate access to affordable credit to 10 million micro and small enterprises that now get such credit facilities at exorbitant interest rates.
It will also provide mechanisms for non-exploitative, government-led mobile and digital loan facilities as an alternative source of low-interest credit, to grant reprieve to 15 million Kenyans blacklisted by credit reference bureaus.
On taxes, the DP’s team will restructure Kenya’s tax-collection systems using administrative and legislative measures to accelerate effective, efficient and taxpayer-friendly collection of taxes. This is expected to at least double revenues while also eliminating tax waivers for politically correct enterprises.
The measures will also aim to eliminate pilferage and corruption to conserve resources and manage the national debt, which is a source of concern for millions of Kenyans.
“We are very clear that the same way, between 2002 and 2012, we were able to increase our tax revenue five-fold, it is possible to double our taxes and ensure we have the resources to retire our debts and to fund our development,” said the DP.
On financial allocations to counties, he said the team will come up with a win-win arrangement to ensure additional resources are made available.
“Nobody has to lose for the other to gain. We have innovative ways of ensuring this can be done within the existing parameters of the law,” he said.
“In any case, the one man, one shilling proposal was actually a hustler nation proposal. And it is going to be dovetailed in our economic programme that will ensure we build our economy starting with the majority who are disadvantaged.”
The team will also accelerate the adoption of Universal Health Coverage by providing a formula for equitable contributions as a percentage of income.
DP Ruto hopes that by December this year, every citizen will have an insurance cover.
The team will examine the status of port and SGR operations and recommend how to reinstate economic activity at the port of Mombasa and auxiliary facilities in order to revive the economy of the Coastal region.
On land reforms, the team will create a national compensation fund to facilitate the purchase of land from absentee landlords and other under-utilised tracts. It will also facilitate the settlement of landless people in the Coast region and other parts of Kenya.
“This economic team will also work on a rapid programme on completion of stalled, ongoing and new projects,” said Dr Ruto.
In agriculture, the team will come up with administrative and legislative interventions on subsidised farm inputs, including fertilisers, feeds and national government-aided agricultural mechanisation and irrigation programmes to enhance output.
The team is expected to prepare legislative and administrative interventions to provide for a mechanism for guaranteed minimum returns for dairy and coffee, tea, sugarcane, maize, coconut, cotton, wheat, rice and cashew nut farmers, among others.
“I am very proud that these men and women will bring a lot of value to our plans as we centralise the place of the economy in our approach to this election,” he said.