William Ruto leads MPs in debate on proposals to boost economy, healthcare

President William Ruto with his deputy Rigathi Gachagua and other leaders during the Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group meeting in Naivasha, Nakuru County on September 17, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

President William Ruto says he is keen to slow down on borrowing as the economy is currently on its knees, adding that the government is instead focused on reducing public expenditure. 

“We are keen to revive the economy and this can be done by supporting various measures in the agricultural sector, making Universal Health Care available to all and work on the housing sector,” he said while closing the Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group meeting at the Sawela Lodge in Naivasha yesterday.

President Ruto told Kenya Kwanza MPs that they have the power to change the country for the better through timely decisions and policies.

He said the solutions to unlock Kenya’s potential for growth requires basic decisions that simplify the workings of government.

“You will be surprised by how simple decisions will have a huge impact,” said President Ruto.

He gave the example of how the Jubilee administration was able to build more than 10,000 kilometres of roads by making a simple change of the regulations.

“We were able to build 10,000km of roads not by changing the law, not by changing the Constitution but by changing the regulations,” said Ruto.

During the meeting where proposed key policies, including measures to guarantee the right to engage in entrepreneurial work, were part of the discussions.

A proposal to enact a right-to-work law, which obligates the different levels of government to provide the space and enabling environment for Kenyans, was discussed.

Economist David Ndii, who heads the Kenya Kwanza economic team, led the discussions on the agenda to transform the focus for the government. He explained the proposed work law encourages trade and entrepreneurship.

Right to work

“The right to work law does not mean you are owed a job; it means that if you apply for a licence to do business, it will be the duty of the county government in charge to provide the location to do the business,” said Dr Ndii.

The raft of suggested legislations discussed at the retreat included measures to reduce the administrative burden that stifles the growth of the business. Another agenda at the meeting was the reform of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the urgent need to enhance the saving culture of Kenyans.

President Ruto said there was an urgent need to reform the NHIF since it currently operates in a complicated environment.

“Reforming NHIF is a priority for us because it currently performs three functions that are supposed to be distinct and separate roles,” said the President.

He pointed out the three different roles regulation and policy formulation, fund management, and claim settlement. The President also said there was a need to get Kenyans to save more through the NSSF.

“The culture of saving cannot wait. It is said that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second time is now. The best time to have started a better saving culture was 2013; the second best time is now,” said the President.

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