Kenyans will have to wait longer for the high cost of living to come down after President William Ruto maintained that subsidies on commodities could not offer a permanent solution.
In his New Year message to Kenyans, President Ruto reiterated that his move to suspend subsidies on fuel, electricity and food was a step in the right direction, saying the decision by the previous government to introduce the same was made for political expediency.
"When I came into office, I found that some decisions were made for political expediency because we had an election. The decisions about subsidies on fuel, maize flour and electricity were not informed by the science of our economy but by political expediency that existed at that moment," he said while speaking at State House Mombasa last night.
"We had to do away with those subsidies or they would cost our economy big time. We would be spending close to Sh25 billion every month to subsidise some of these programmes. We did away with the subsidies in August and I am happy that we have saved our economy a huge amount of money and we are now well on the way to making sure that we are investing in areas that will drive our economy in a sustainable way," he added.
Dr Ruto said that when he was sworn into office, he chose to make unpopular but necessary decisions for the country's progress because the economy was not doing well.
The President has, however, assured Kenyans that the Kenya Kwanza government has put in place measures to ensure that the economy is built on a strong foundation that is sustainable and self-reliant.
"I am very confident that we have now laid a foundation that will take our economy away from dependence on debt to dependence on revenues that are raised by taxpayers. We cannot drive this economy on borrowings," he said.
According to Dr Ruto, the tough decisions that his government has made will see the country's income grow from Sh2 trillion to Sh3 trillion.
'No political gimmicks'
"Within five years we will have doubled our revenues so that we can build our economy on the sound footing of our own revenues collected locally rather than being trapped in debt. These are important issues. We must tell each other the truth, not short political gimmicks but solid economic policies that will take us far," he said.
On education, Dr Ruto said his government will this month employ 30,000 teachers to address shortages in the sector. He also said that another 3,000 tutors will be employed in TVET institutions.
"It is our intention to build world class human capital using our education system, and that is why we have set this January to hire teachers to make sure that our primary to junior secondary transition is seamless. We are also going to hire tutors to take care of our TVET institutions because in TVETs, we have the best human capital that is tailored towards science and mathematics and the areas that are going to lead us to engineering because that is the future we are looking for," he said.