Ruto urges MPs to embrace bipartisan approach on Housing Bill

President William Ruto launches the 220-unit Makenji affordable housing project in Kandara, Murang’a County. [PCS]

President William Ruto continued to drum up support for the affordable housing programme during his second-day tour of the Mt Kenya region.

The President urged the legislators to take a bipartisan approach during the debate on the Housing Bill in Parliament. 

He said that the affordable housing programme will create jobs for more than 300,000 youths by the end of this year. Already, the President noted that 130,000 youth are working at various construction sites across the country.

“This is not about political parties; it is not about those who have versus those who don't. This is about job opportunities for millions of Kenyans who work in construction and related value chains,” he said.

He was speaking at the Makenji Affordable Housing Project in Kandara, Murang’a county where he launched the construction of 220 housing units that will create more than 1,600 jobs. 

“We are asking MPs to consider the hundreds of youth who are already working in the housing project, let's support the Bill and empower hundreds of our youths to prosperity and wealth creation, said the President. 

Ruto reiterated the government’s commitment to address unemployment in the country.

He cited the ongoing establishment of ICT hubs in the 1,450 wards across the country that will create hundreds of digital jobs, export of Kenyan labour abroad and the development of Special Economic Zones.

The Head of State faulted leaders opposed to the export of labour programme, saying it will provide job opportunities youths.

“It would be irresponsible for us to spend Sh600 billion a year on the education of our youth without a plan on how to create jobs for them,” he said.

He announced that the national government and Murang'a county are investing Sh500 million in the development of the Thika Special Economic Zone that will specialise in the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

“Every year, we import pharmaceuticals worth Sh110 billion. We want to produce these products here in Kenya for domestic use, the East African Community and, indeed, Africa,” he said.

President Ruto said the government is keen to enhance access to water for domestic use, livestock and irrigation that will substantially increase the country's agricultural productivity.

He reiterated that the government is supporting farmers through the subsidised fertiliser programme and investing in the mechanisation of agriculture.

The goal, Ruto said, is to increase agricultural production to achieve food security goals, thus reducing the cost of living.

“The best way of eradicating hunger in the country is to support our farmers to produce more food,” he said.

Murang'a leaders among them Governor Irungu Kang'ata hailed the affordable housing programme at Makeji describing it as a game changer as there will be Kenneth Matiba Level Five Hospital.

The President also commissioned Ithanga water project that had stalled for years and pledged to extend it to Masinga and Yatta constituencies.

He said the Sh3.6 billion project implemented by Athi Water Development Works provides water for farmers to increase food production.

Gatanga MP Edward Muriu noted that the Rubiro Irrigation project that stalled years ago requires Sh700 million to benefit residents in Kakuzi/ Mitumbiri and Ithanga wards.

The President while speaking during the commissioning of the Changachicha irrigation project in Othaya, Nyeri county reaffirmed the government’s commitment to complete stalled projects.

"The Changachicha irrigation project itself serves as an example of the government's commitment to have a food secure country. It aims to enhance agricultural productivity in the Othaya by providing reliable water supply for irrigation purposes," he said.

Ruto assured that the government had successfully overcome debt challenges that had previously slowed down key development programs, including the long-awaited Mau Mau roads.

"We have consistently emphasized that once the election is over, we shall promptly get to work, Today, I am pleased to announce that we have fulfilled our financial obligations and cleared our debts. As a result, all the projects that were previously stalled, including the much-needed Mau Mau roads, will resume without further delay. This demonstrates our unwavering commitment to ensuring progress and development for all Kenyans," he said.

President Ruto emphasized that the completion of the Mau Mau roads would have a transformative impact on the transportation of people and goods.

"These improved roads would not only facilitate trade but also catalyze economic growth. By easing the flow of traffic, the roads would connect various regions, unlocking new opportunities and creating a more efficient transport network," he said.

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