President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a Sh50 billion government boost to counties to enable them give quality services.
He announced the launch of the Kenya Devolution Support Programme and the Kenya Urban Support Programme, which he said will be performance-based conditional grants to the devolved units.
“Both combined, will inject Ksh 50 billion into your county governments, to help you build and improve the systems that support your staff, and your delivery of services,” he said when he addressed the 5th Annual Devolution Conference at Kakamega High School through a video link from State House.
He added: “Just like us in the National Government, you must also strive to perform to the very highest standards; and must be ready to take a stern view of public servants who give in to lethargy and sloth.”
The theme of the conference is ‘Sustainability, productivity, effective and efficient governments for results delivery’.
The President said his government’s Big Four Agenda –– Universal healthcare, manufacturing, food security and affordable housing –– required huge financial support and sought the intervention of the National Treasury. He asked the governors to start the transformation by focusing on healthcare.
“I say so because I think all of us can see that of the priorities I have identified, it is healthcare that troubles Kenyans most,” he said and asked the county governments to complete their payments to the National Health Insurance Fund by the July 31 deadline.
The President challenged the counties to get their hospitals ready to receive medicines and medical supplies when the time comes, asking the governors to provide leadership.
“Invest more in health, and show, by example, that you truly value the lives of the Kenyans who chose you to lead them. None of us can stand aside, waiting for others to do the heavy lifting; this plan will work only if we all work together,” he said and announced that the universal healthcare will take care of primary medical care, whether inpatient or outpatient as long as one was registered under the NHIF cover plan.
He warned that his government will deal firmly with those engaged in theft of public funds.
“Kenyans want to see results, not recrimination; they want integrity, not corruption; and they want prudence, not profligacy,” he said, pointing out that the two levels of governments have shared responsibilities in realising national goals as set out in the Vision 2030 Blue Print.
“There is neither room nor time for public servants who care for anything other than serving Kenyans. We in the national government will back that resolution with financial resources,” he said and urged governors to maintain fiscal discipline, keep accurate records and to use funds, and resources efficiently to ensure maximum benefits for Kenyans.
He directed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary to collaborate with every county to give farmers the support they need to make an honest living off their land and called for an end to preoccupation with sugar, maize and fertiliser imports.
The President said urbanisation, speculative real estate practices and poor physical planning are depleting already scarce arable land, a challenge he noted must be confronted as part of the country’s strategy to realise its commitment to deliver on food security.
He said the government will empower farmers with the information necessary to increase their output per acre, reduce their unit cost of production and raise their income.