Kenya’s new President William Ruto said Tuesday that advancing economic vitality, transforming the civil service, and promoting regional integration, trade, peace and stability will be key priorities of his administration.
Ruto, who delivered an official address soon after his swearing-in as the fifth president of Kenya in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, said he would devote his initial days in office to tackling unemployment and inflationary pressure facing the citizens.
“We anchored our campaign on the platform of the economy premised on job creation and the well-being of the people and we will be working vigorously on measures to bring down the cost of living,” said Ruto.
He acknowledged the strain the high cost of food and fuel was exerting on household budgets, adding that his administration has already made plans to supply farmers with subsidized fertilizer and seeds in the October planting season in a bid to boost production of key staples.
Ruto was sworn in at a ceremony attended by a host of African presidents, representatives of regional blocs, diplomats and local political elite including global dignitaries.
The former deputy president took over power from Uhuru Kenyatta, his predecessor who ruled Kenya for nearly one decade and is expected to spearhead peace and reconciliation initiatives across the region while in retirement.
Ruto noted that a prolonged drought had also slowed down economic growth and worsened food insecurity in the country, adding that his government will mobilize resources to promote climate resilience for communities living in the rangelands.
He said that his administration will leverage friendly taxation, provision of technical skills, and affordable credit in a bid to boost the growth of youth-led enterprises. Abolishing burdensome regulations and the provision of state grants will also be on the cards to spur the growth of local start-ups, boost economic vitality at the grassroots and create additional jobs for the youth.
He said that the establishment of the Ministry of Cooperatives, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Development will ensure that local start-ups have secure property rights, access to finance and a predictable regulatory environment.
Ruto disclosed that his government will roll out 250,000 housing units annually to help create jobs for youth and business opportunities for local manufacturers of building materials.
Exploiting the full potential of local leather, textile and agro-processing industries will not only boost Kenya’s export volumes but also tackle youth unemployment, said Ruto.
He pledged that his administration will come up with robust measures to expand the tax bracket, manage debt, promote a savings culture and encourage domestic borrowing.
Kenya will intensify its peace-mediating role in the regional hotspots besides rallying behind multilateral efforts to promote stability, climate response and inclusive development in Africa, said Ruto.