President Uhuru’s measures to spur economy timely
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday announced a raft of measures he hopes to implement in the next five months mainly aimed at spurring the economy and energise the war against corruption, among other issues.
He made it very clear his main focus was growing the economy.
And for the first time, the President candidly spoke about challenges facing the coffee, tea, dairy, potato and sugar sectors as well small businesses.
Acknowledging the issue of financing for small businesses, the Head of State encouraged entrepreneurs to tap into the Sh10 billion dedicated as credit for them by five commercial banks at a friendly rate of nine per cent per annum.
On the tea sector, the President directed the Agriculture and Trade ministries to address the issue of market in a way that benefits farmers and protect them from greedy middlemen.
To address challenges in the coffee sector, Uhuru ordered the National Treasury to operationalise the Sh3 billion Cherry Revolving Fund within the next 30 days to cushion farmers from delayed payments.
And to cover farmers from losses occasioned by lack of storage and preservations facilitates, he asked the Treasury to release Sh300 million to the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority for the construction of cold storage and processing facilities in Nyandarua, Meru and Kisii counties.
It appeared the President was keen to address issues which have made him the subject of criticism, especially by politicians in farming regions as well as about the youth.
Although well meant, there is justification in the argument that these measures have come too little too late.
The story of farming in the country has been that of agony and disillusionment by farmers, who have been suffering at the expense of corrupt middlemen and negligent regulatory authorities.
The sugar sector is a case in point. The pyrethrum and cotton sectors are on their knees.
On corruption, the President predictably passed the buck to the Judiciary which he accused of failing to convict suspects.
It should be noted that the judges can only convict individuals based on available evidence and in line with the law, not at the behest of external forces.
The President declared that he is ready to be held accountable on his directives yesterday. Kenyans will be watching him and, therefore, he should walk the talk.