William Ruto: My first assignment after swearing-in is lowering cost of living
President-elect William Ruto has said his first assignment after being sworn in on Tuesday will be to put in place measures that will help reduce the cost of living.
Dr Ruto said he had had meetings with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), National Treasury and Ministry of Agriculture officials on how to address the matter which will involve reducing the prices of farm inputs including fertiliser.
He said new farm gate prices for maize and wheat will be announced as well as those of maize flour. The president-elect will be sworn in at Kasarani Sports Centre on Tuesday. The event will be attended by at least 20 heads of state.
Addressing the congregation at Maua Stadium in Meru during a thanksgiving service on Sunday, Dr Ruto spoke of the “deep economic hole” in which Kenya is, and noted that the only way to get out of it was through reduced borrowing.
He however signalled that Kenya will accumulate more debts in the short term to meet her economic obligations despite the debt of Sh9 trillion, saying when he asked economists whether there was an alternative, they replied in the negative.
“When you find yourself in a hole the logical thing is to stop digging so I asked them whether we could stop. They told me we have to continue digging but I assure Kenyans that we will get out of it,” he said.
He said his administration will put into place laws that will encourage Kenyans to save money which the government would borrow to carry out development projects.
“We have to stop borrowing but Kenyans must also pay taxes and save. We have had a conversation with KRA and we asked them not to punish taxpayers but collect taxes without threats and intimidation because this is the only way we are going to grow our economy,” Dr Ruto said.
The deputy president also said his government would first complete projects that were started during the first Jubilee administration but stalled before new ones were launched.
Earlier, Igembe South MP John Paul Mwirigi had appealed to Dr Ruto to crack the whip on cartels that had taken root in the miraa sector after the opening of the Somalia export market.
The MP said despite the lifting of the two-year ban, farmers were suffering at the hands of cartels that were demanding huge sums of money at the airport.
Dr Ruto said after swearing in, he would give directives to streamline not only the miraa but other agricultural sub-sectors to empower farmers who would assist in reducing the cost of living.
Dr Ruto was accompanied by deputy president-elect Rigathi Gachagua, governors Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi) Cecil Mbarire (Embu), former Meru senator Mithika Linturi, Kathuri Murungi (senator) and MPs Julius Taitumu (Igembe North) and Kirima Ngucine (Imenti Central)
Mr Gachagua thanked the people of Meru for standing with Dr Ruto despite the intimidation of leaders by the state, saying the “respect” demonstrated by their votes would be rewarded with development projects.
He told residents not to worry about Mr Mithika’s fate after he failed to win the Meru governor seat, saying Dr Ruto would appoint him to his government.
He said by voting for Dr Ruto overwhelmingly, residents of the Mt Kenya region had demonstrated that they could be trusted.
“This was a big test for us because after President Kenyatta failed to honour the promise to support Dr Ruto after completion of his 10 years, people told us that we could not be trusted but we demonstrated that we are faithful. For those who did not join us during the struggle, they can still join us because our interest is unity,” he said.
Other leaders who accompanied Dr Ruto were MPs Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri) Rahim Dawood (Imenti North) John Mutunga (Tigania West) Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) Kareke Mbiuki (Chuka/Igambangombe) Charity Kathambi (Njoro) Dr Shadrack Mwiti (Imenti South) and former Chuka University Vice-Chancellor Erastus Njoka who unsuccessfully vied for Tharaka Nithi County governorship.
The Inter-denominational service brought together church leaders from across the county. The clergy praised Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati as a hero who did not succumb to intimidation. They also hailed the Supreme Court for upholding Dr Ruto's victory.