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Ruto to launch UHC on Mashujaa Day

Health & Science
 President William Ruto was received by Governor Ochilo Ayacko, CS ICT Eliud Owalo, and Uriri Mp Mark Nyamita when he arrived in Migori on October 8, 2023. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

President William Ruto has said chances of his opponents unseating him in 2027 are slim and urged Kenyans to back his quest to transform the country’s economic fortunes.

Speaking in Migori county on Sunday during the third day of his Nyanza tour, the Head of State said his focus was to strengthen the country’s leadership.

He dismissed the deep state narrative saying he is committed to uniting Kenyans.

“If they did not manage to defeat me in the last polls, will they manage again?” Posed Ruto.

The Head of State announced that he will officially launch the Affordable Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) on October 20 to improve access to primary healthcare.

Ruto promised to transform livelihoods through development projects.

Addressing residents in Uriri and Awendo constituencies, the Head of State said his administration is focused on reviving key industries in the country.

Ruto said the government would review NHIF rates after the launch of UHC.

“We will formally launch UHC on October 20 of this year,” he said.

The president maintained that NHIF contributions would be based on the salary an individual earns.

In the new formula, he explained that those who have been paying Sh500 will now part with Sh300, while those who earn more, will pay more.

He said his administration is fronting four Bills on UHC that have already been presented to the National Assembly for consideration.

Ruto noted that the Bills will provide a legal framework to improve access to primary healthcare.

“We must have a legal context. We have taken four Bills to Parliament for Universal Health Coverage. People are selling their valuables to access health services and this is plunging them into poverty,” he said.

“We want health to be accessible at the lowest level possible,” he added.

The president announced plans by the government to allocate Sh54 million annually to pay Community Health Volunteers who will also be issued with equipment.

Ruto announced plans to transform key sectors in Nyanza including the struggling sugar industry, affordable housing, fisheries and trade.

The president said the government will write off Sh117 billion debts owed by sugar factories.

“We have a certificate from Parliament for a write-off of the debts and we shall soon be announcing that the companies can continue operating,” he said.

He noted that the factories owe farmers about Sh860 million.

However, the president hinted at removing the frequent bailouts to the sugar industry in the new plan to make them self-sustaining.

“The trend of getting money from the government and paying farmers will not be tolerated. We will come up with a new strategy for handling the sugar industries,” he said.

The president blamed the woes in the sector on rogue businessmen he claimed have been benefiting at the expense of the farmers.

He questioned where the money earned from the sale of sugar in the factories goes.

"Sugar companies take the cane from farmers and are not paid. The workers are also not paid, yet the cane has been processed and sold. We shall not continue like that," said Ruto.

Addressing residents in Migori, the president said his administration will construct new markets to improve the working conditions of the traders. He also promised to increase the fertilizers sent to the region from 200,000 bags to 400,000 bags.

He stressed the need for the country to remain united and forge forward in the pursuit of development.

"Let us have peaceful politics, just as we held peaceful elections. Our differences as politicians should not affect the work between the county and national government," he said.

Ruto reiterated that he is ready to work with all leaders across the country.

He urged the opposition not to protest against his presidency, arguing that his victory was also theirs.

"My visit here is based on development, and I will continue doing that over and over again. I have come here to commission a hospital, sugar and affordable housing programme," he said.

Leaders who accompanied the president promised they would work with the government on the development front.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said the government has lined up projects to revamp the economy of the region.

"The only way is to extend a hand to the government for the government to exploit the good potential of this region," he said.

Migori Governor Ochillo Ayacko said only individuals can have differences but not governments. He noted that the Constitution provides for close working relationship between the national and the county governments.

Uriri MP Mark Nyamita praised the president for his efforts to transform Nyanza's economy. He said the projects the president is pursuing in the region are on the right track.

"The hospital you promised us is currently ongoing. The 100 computers you promised us are here and functioning," said Nyamita.

Today, the president will unveil MV Uhuru II in Kisumu which was assembled locally.

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