What you need to know:
- Dr Ruto claims Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda are now seeking to clinch the same fuel deal Kenya got.
- President tells Raila deal is above board and all details of the transaction are already in Parliament.
President William Ruto has defended the fuel import deal secured by the government, saying it was the best option for the country, rubbishing claims by opposition leader Raila Odinga and daring him to present evidence of any wrongdoing.
Dr Ruto stated that he was in charge of the economic recovery in the country and that it will soon stabilise after a year of turbulence.
The President also said he would not take a populist approach in fixing the economy as there was a need to face the challenges head on.
Dr Ruto claimed Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda were now seeking to clinch the same fuel deal that Kenya secured with the fuel companies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arabs Emirates (UAE), despite an earlier criticism.
“I committed to change the economic model of this country and rid it of debt. I am happy that we are now turning the corner. Kenya is going places economically,” Dr Ruto stated.
Directly answering Azimio leader Raila Odinga on demands that the deal be made public, Dr Ruto said the details had already been tabled in Parliament and available for perusal by any interested party.
Mr Odinga had challenged the government to make public the transaction, which he claimed was not government-to-government as earlier stated, but meant to exempt three local companies–Gulf Energy, Galana Oil Kenya Limited and Oryx Energies Kenya–from paying 30 percent corporate tax.
“Kenya did not sign any contracts with Saudi Arabia or the UAE. Only the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum signed a deal with State-owned petroleum companies in the Middle East. Why (Dr) Ruto chose to characterise the deal as government to government is the first red flag that points to mischief in the deal,” Mr Odinga said last week.
Dr Ruto has, however, shot back, for the second time in a week, directly training his guns on Mr Odinga. “We got the best deal for the country. It was above board and we are paying for it in Kenya shillings as opposed to the US dollar that was previously used as a medium of exchange. As a result, there is no more rush for dollars and there is plenty of fuel supply in the country,” Dr Ruto stated.
Speaking after attending an interdenominational prayer service at Sotik 181 grounds in Bomet county, the President said some of those asking for details of the fuel deal were the same people who put the country in the current economic mess.
Dr Ruto said due to economic reforms instituted by his administration, Kenya got Sh110 billion last week for investments.
He said his administration was committed to securing job opportunities for Kenyans noting that he had signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and bilateral labour agreements that will see 3,000 to 5,000 Kenyans get jobs abroad on a weekly basis.
“On that note, I will be flying out to Germany tonight where we have job opportunities for 200,000 Kenyans,” Dr Ruto said.
He said Sh1.5 billion would be released to mop up cereals and other surplus farm produce to ensure that farmers do not make losses. The New Kenya Cooperative Creameries will get Sh500 million to buy milk from farmers across the country following a glut in production as a result of the rainy season.
There was drama at the function when the crowd turned hostile against Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir.
Mr Chirchir could hardly be heard from the shouts throughout his two minute-speech which came after Cabinet Secretaries Florence Bore and Ezekiel Machogu had addressed the crowd.
“I can see you have been very hard on Davis (Chirchir). I have heard you shout him down. I understand where you are coming from. Please, go slow on him and be patient with him. He is a very sharp man,” Dr Ruto said.
Dr Ruto added: “If it is on electricity supply, I want to assure you that 81,150 homesteads constituting 50 per cent of homesteads in Bomet, have been connected with electricity.”
The residents are said to have been angered by high cost of electricity supply, frequent blackouts and high cost of fuel.