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Yatani's advice to Ndung'u as he hands over Treasury post

Former Finance CS Ukur Yattani during an interview at the Treasury on October 27, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Outgoing National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has advised the new government to implement existing policies instead of coming up with new ones.

In an interview with The Saturday Standard, Yatani said the government of Uhuru Kenyatta, just like that of his successor, considered the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as the engine of economic growth.

“What the new government is talking about - Pesa Mashinani, Hustler Fund - those things are already here,” said Yatani. “And I am going to tell the incoming Cabinet Secretary (Prof Njuguna Ndung'u) not to re-invent the wheel but instead maximise on ongoing policies and programmes."

President William Ruto has rolled back some of the programmes that were being implemented by his predecessor, including the Kazi Mtaani, a national hygiene programme that was unveiled in July 2020 as a form of social protection initiative to cushion the youth and vulnerable citizens in slums from the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ruto also reversed the decision by the government to force all cargo destined for Nairobi and beyond to be cleared in Mombasa or Naivasha.

He also ended some of Kenyatta's subsidy programmes, including the one on maize flour as well as that on super petrol. Yatani said while subsidies were not necessarily good, they come in handy in drastic situations. 

He said under his leadership, the National Treasury consolidated what used to be the Youth Fund, the Women Fund, Uwezo Fund into Biashara Fund.

More than Sh25 billion has been disbursed to women and youth across the country, through these government affirmative action funds.

Government data in May 2022 showed more than three million people had benefited from the kitties since they were launched.

The Biashara Fund will likely gather dust in the shelves as the new government embarks on the Hustler Fund. Ruto has proposed to launch the Sh50 billion Hustler Fund, which is aimed at helping small businesses access cheap credit, in December.

Ruto moved to actualise his pet agenda of helping hustlers by creating a ministry - Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development - whose function will be to deal with matters of small businesses.