NAIROBI: Elected on the promise of transformation and inaugurated on the backdrop of history as the first government under the new Constitution, Jubilee took the reins of a highly expectant nation.
Three years and four months later, the expectation has been vindicated by a diverse array of achievements and immense works in progress. The Jubilee administration has repaid the trust and faith of the Kenyan people with an unwavering commitment to the economic transformation of the land.
One of the biggest and unsung achievements of this administration is our full-throttle support for devolution. In every budget cycle since inauguration, we have gone above and beyond the constitutional threshold in county allocations and every year we raise the allocation so that Kenyans can feel the transformation at the grassroots level.
In the 2013-14 financial year, the national government disbursed Sh210 billion, 2014-15 Sh239 billion, 2015-16 Sh285 billion and 2016-17 Sh301 billion. This includes conditional grants.
But our support for devolution is not just financial. We supplement the money with technical and programme support in key sectors such as health and education. Every county now has a facility equipped with modern hi-tech medical equipment to treat heart, kidney and other chronic conditions as well as cancer screening and therapy.
Infrastructure is at the heart of the Jubilee transformation agenda: roads, railways, ports and harbours, airports, pipelines and fibre-optic lines are being constructed, rolled out and laid all over our republic to make us a more connected economy internally and with our neighbours in the region.
This investment in infrastructure is fundamental to the vision of transformation. It is the basis for national socio-economic take-off. It is how we achieve and sustain double-digit economic growth.
The standard gauge railway (SGR) is the crown jewel of these investments. SGR will create a new dimension for commerce and industry. Today a boogie (freight train) carries 20 containers and travels at 20km per hour. With SGR a boogie will carry 200 twenty-foot containers and travel at 120km per hour. The difference is exponential and not just for Kenya but across the region. It will help us cement our position as a regional leader and the regional central logistics hub.
All that plus 12,000 jobs for Kenyans.
But the railway is not enough which is why we are expanding the port and seeking to build 10,000km of new roads. At the port we have increased the capacity by five million tonnes from 22 million to 27,000 million. At this moment we have paved 3,658, an additional 706km.
A total of 1,563km of low volume roads has been laid while 2,500km will start before the end of the year. National highways have seen 1,420km of tarmac laid. The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has witnessed a huge facelift, which has pushed its capacity from 2.5 million passengers in 2013 to 7.5 million per year.
Growth is impossible without power and the Jubilee Government has invested heavily in the energy sector. We understand that industrialisation, job creation and growing the economy demands affordable power. And we are delivering exactly that.
Between 2013 and today, the Jubilee administration has connected electricity to more than 2.2 million households translating to 12.4 million Kenyans. The Last Mile Programme is ensuring Kenyans in rural areas also get access to electricity in their homes, businesses, schools and health facilities.
The Jubilee administration has also put 52 towns under a street lighting programme to ensure Kenyans engage in a 24-hour business and also provide security.
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Today 22,245 primary schools have been connected to electricity countrywide up from 8,200 in 2013. Work on the 1,166 remaining is ongoing.
The economy is paramount but our society needs more - we need to invest in the health of our people, in the actualisation of the potential of all our youth and the protection and empowerment of the vulnerable among us. This is why our first act as a Government was to abolish maternity fees in all public hospitals so that more women could have access to better maternal care. The result is encouraging.
In 2013, about 600,000 women were giving birth in public hospitals; today that number has doubled. That is over half a million new mothers giving birth in hospitals and clinics.
The Managed Equipment Services has delivered life saving equipment such as dialysis machines to counties where these services were unheard of before. Eleven hospitals have received intensive care unit facilities, about 50 others renal facilities and the process is ongoing.
The security and safety of Kenyans is the principal duty of Government. We have invested heavily to improve the operational response time and capacity of our security forces.
The police are no longer analogue. We now have a modern communications and surveillance system with 1,800 cameras live across our main cities. We have also trained 10,000 officers on how to use the new technology, in addition to providing more than 3,000 new vehicles to stations across the country.
This is not just theory it’s working. Carjacked vehicles are being recovered faster because of number plate recognition capability.
Land is one of the biggest issues in the country and Jubilee has issued over two million title deeds and digitised 13 land registries.
Education is the cornerstone of our future and in five years Jubilee has committed to ensuring every constituency in the country has a technical training college giving hundreds of thousands of young men and women a chance to learn definitive skills. Fifty-four institutes have already been completed and 130 more are under construction.
We have scaled up technical training to provide Kenya with much-needed skills to service an economy that is manifestly accelerating on the runway. Agriculture will in a few weeks witness the launch of a fertiliser factory to help reduce the prices. The dairy industry is also being reformed to get better breeds through artificial insemination. We have made considerable progress in delivering our pledges. The scorecard is in robust health. I want to reiterate that the idea of transformation was not a mere electoral promise, it was a firm commitment to the kind of vision we need to convert this country’s potential into tangible prosperity.
We all know the goal we have set for ourselves as a country. We all know we have it within us as a people to achieve it and our job is to fill the gap between hope and achievement with steady and tireless delivery. We are not yet done and we are ready to keep going - but we need the country’s blessing for five more years.