The 2018 State of the Nation address by the president that was anticipated by a majority of Kenyans was today delivered and a majority of key issues discussed as per how important they were especially towards ensuring growth and development.
Among these key issues were matters of food security, provision of better healthcare, affordable housing and matters economy which collectively make up the Big 4 work plan of attaining devolution.
It has been noted that devolution has successfully been established five years after its establishment since issues can now be addressed and key services issued at the county level.
The amount of revenue allocated to the counties has grown by 56 percent from Ksh. 210 Billion in the year 2013/14 to Ksh. 327 Billion in 2017/18. Another Ksh. 372 Billion has been set aside and will be distributed to the counties in the coming financial year 2018/19.
Among the measures that have resulted to the success of devolution is the digitization of key services offered to Kenyans that has seen the filling of the loopholes that have for long been used to propagate fraud. This move has ensured equality amongst Kenyans regardless of their social status.
The president called on government officials to play their roles towards the realization of the devolution agenda and urged the members of the private sector and those of the public to report crime, fraud and corruption in order to ensure good governance.
“Only by coming together this way will Kenya join the league of prosperous nations all over the world,” he stated.
With regard to the performance of the economy, the president highlighted that despite the challenges faced during the 2017 electioneering period, the economy grew from 3.6 percent in 2013 to 4.9 percent 2017.
This was attributed to the strengthened transport sector especially the peace that was experienced during the 2017 general election and the introduction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that has enable easier movement of goods and services to various destinations.
President Kenyatta confirmed that up to 3,000 kilometres of road has been constructed out of the 10,000 kilometres promised by his regime. A further 5,000 kilometre is still under construction with the second phase of the SGR project that will run from Naivasha to Malaba currently under negotiations for financing.
The tourism sector also registered a positive growth of 20 percent in 2017 despite the challenges of repeated elections.
Also noted, was the decentralization of services that has enabled the public to be able to access key services such as those of health from the county level and at a cheaper cost.
“By providing universal healthcare we will save lives. Extensive work has been done to bring access to quality and affordable healthcare,” stated the president.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage has grown from 3.8 Million people in 2013 to 7.2 Million in 2017 while the infant mortality rate has also dropped from 52 per every 1000 to 32 per every 1000.
The president however noted that there was still a lot that needed to be done in the health sector especially in areas such as immunization which has dropped from 90 percent to 70 percent.
Towards ensuring security, it has been highlighted that appropriate measures have been put in place and different administrative bodies empowered to ensure the provision of security to the people both at the national and county levels.
The president confirmed that Kenya has become indispensable to the entire global community in the issues of security.
He however called on leaders to change and refine their ways of conducting politics as well as embrace democracy as ways of achieving ultimate security adding that political campaigning is what has been dividing Kenyans in the past.
“The character and unity of our people and the adherence to our constitution is what will make Kenya more successful.”
Our ethnic identity must not be our political one. We should strive to conduct and encourage politics of service delivery.