The Plan: Ruto's candid covenant with CSs on delivering Kenya Kwanza dream

President William Ruto during the signing of performance contracts for Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and heads of parastatals at State House, Nairobi. [PCS]

Cabinet Secretaries now face stringent deadlines and tough objectives after signing performance contracts with President William Ruto to raise revenue collection, provide world-class services and ensure taxpayers get value for their money.

The President raised the bar for all CSs, some who have been his friends, in contracts that provide finer details on activities that should be done, items of focus, timeframe, expectations, revenue collection, hustlers needs, and how he wants his administration governed.

With a focus on sustainable socio-economic development, the contract align with the Kenya Kwanza Bottom-Up manifesto and ambitious goals of Vision 2030, which he intends to capitalise on while campaigning for re-election in 2027.

The contracts lay out comprehensive responsibilities for CSs including policy formulation, addressing citizen concerns, and implementing prudent economic and financial policies at both national and county levels.

Notably, the contracts include a commitment to raise an astounding A-in-A (Actuals against Agreements) amounting to Sh3,531,000,000 indicating the ambitious targets set by the President and utilising 100 per cent of the allocated funds on planned programmes and activities.

“Allocate and award at least 30 per cent of the procurement budget (Sh856 million) to youth, women and PWDs, and reserve 2 per cent (Sh57 million) for PWDs,” Health CS Susan Nakhumicha’s contract says.

The contracts were signed between the CSs and the President, not the government. They are effective from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.

This clause is found in all contracts of the 22 cabinet secretaries. The contracts also demand that all CSs absorb 100 per cent of the proposed budget.

To ensure transparency and accountability, the contracts include stringent reporting requirements. Ministers are obligated to submit quarterly and annual performance reports online, a move that aims to enhance monitoring and evaluation and ensure that the agreed-upon targets are met.

The contracts are however not public, and only the parties and high government officers have access to them on a need to know basis. Members of public will have to rely on the goodwill of their President to trust that the CS’s are apprised.  

They emphasize financial stewardship, urging CS’s to efficiently utilise budget allocations. They must distinguish between recurrent and development expenditures, and not exceed pending bills incurred in FY 2023–24 by one per cent of the allocated budget.

The targets set for them are lofty and ambitious. They must achieve 100 per cent food and nutrition security, stabilise the economy, tame inflation, create enabling environment for trade and learning, strengthen institutional capacity, and enhance Kenyans’ involvement in national policies.

“I have had a heart-to-heart with my Cabinet, and I want to do the same with Principal Secretaries down to directors. It will not be business as usual. I have committed to Kenyans that there will be no money to steal; there is only money to deliver on the government programmes, projects, and aspirations of the people of Kenya,” President Ruto said at the signing.

All CSs have been bound to increase forest tree cover from 12 per cent to 32 per cent by 2032 in a common, progressive target. They must then, in reporting their performance indicate how they have contributed to this. 

“The CS must ensure at least 40 per cent of the total value of the procurement budget is for goods and services produced locally,” another clause says.

Each ministry has been bound to implement the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), enhance leadership and integrity in management of resources, and promote youth involvement to increase productivity and create jobs.

The President will rely on a combination of indicators, reporting requirements, and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, among them regular reporting, impact assessments, citizen feedback and surveys, and external audits, to get progress.

The contracts are designed to ensure targeted development, inclusive policies, empowerment programmes, transparency and data-driven solutions. All CSs agreed to digitise at least 25 per cent of government services in contracts that become effective from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.

“The Ministry will provide capitation grants within 7 days of exchequer release to 13 million learners. Low-Cost Boarding Support Grants Disbursed provide upkeep Support grants to 131,739 learners in 480 schools within 7 days of exchequer release,” the contract signed by Education CS Ezekiel Machogu says.

Mr Machogu signed up to increase enrolment of learners with special needs in public primary schools from 148,144 to 150,144 and in public secondary schools from 20,066 to 22,066. He also signed to disburse Quarterly Grants (for a total annual amount of Sh455 million) to special schools within seven days after exchequer release.

And he began to score his targets yesterday when President Ruto launched the Open University of Kenya in Konza. 

CS Treasury Njuguna Ndung’u committed to collaborate with the Central Bank of Kenya to maintain the inflation rate at 5.0 per cent, develop and implement a fiscal framework to gradually reduce the fiscal deficit from 5.8 per cent of GDP (2022–23) to 4.4 per cent of GDP, and develop and implement various policies to raise total revenue to Sh2.9 trillion (17.9 per cent of GDP).

“Conduct business development services to 300 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and 4,000 smallholder farmers. Enable financial access through the green financing facility (GFF) to 2,000 smallholder farmers and MSMEs in rural areas,” his contract read in part.

In addition, Ndung’u must do his magic and achieve a ratio of 70:30 of recurrent and development budget.

The health ministry is expected to mobilise Sh14.3 billion from the Global Fund for HIV, TB, and Malaria Interventions, unveil 1,871 services on the eCitizen platform, and develop and implement a framework that fosters economic growth of 5.5 per cent.

To spearhead bottom-up agenda, the Ministry of Roads and Transport is expected to absorb a budget of Sh7,632,849,820, including Sh2,470,000,000 in externally mobilised funds, allocated across various projects currently ongoing and new ones.

CS Kipchumba Murkomen will also ensure the ministry signs, reviews and ratifies Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) to implement intelligent traffic systems.