SECTIONS

Cabinet approves start of free trade talks with the US

President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Elvis Ogina/Standard]

The Cabinet yesterday approved talks with the US on the establishment of a free trade arrangement between the two countries.

A Cabinet meeting, held at State House, Nairobi, said the negotiations will give Kenyan goods a smooth access to the US consumer market, especially as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) comes to an end.

Yesterday's sitting, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured), also received a progress report on the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school initiative.

The Ministry of Education reported that initiative has so far achieved an enrollment rate of 93 per cent. The ministry reported that efforts have been stepped up to ensure that the 100 per cent target is achieved by the February 13th deadline.

The Cabinet revised the admissions deadline to mid-February to ensure that the new learners are not left behind in their studies by their already enrolled peers.

The meeting also approved the establishment of a sub-committee chaired by Education CS Prof George Magoha that will engage stakeholders to ensure that all 2019 KCPE candidates are enrolled in secondary schools.

Coronavirus

The Ministry of Health also presented a brief on measures being taken to safeguard the country from the Coronavirus outbreak.

The meeting debated and adopted the raft of measures, including screening of passengers before they disembark from aircraft originating from affected areas.

It directed the Health and Transport ministries to institute special measures to manage the movement of those transiting through Kenya from affected regions.

As part of the measures, the Ministry of Health is also in constant contact with international health institutions on the global characterisation of the outbreak.

The Ministry of Agriculture gave the Cabinet a progress report on the ongoing efforts to deal with the desert locust invasion in parts of the country.

Acknowledging the magnitude of the threat posed by the invasion to Kenya's food security, the Cabinet approved a proposal to engage in government-to-government arrangements with countries that produce fast acting pesticides for quick importation and application in affected areas.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was directed to engage and work with regional and multilateral agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation and Igad, to come up with modalities on dealing with the threat in the region.