KEY HIGHLIGHTS IN PRESIDENT UHURU’S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

● The government has set aside Ksh. 150 billion to settle all infrastructure pending bills will be settled early this year and aid the completion of all ongoing road and infrastructure projects across the country.
● Five commercial banks have set aside Ksh. 10 billion to lend to MSMEs at an interest rate of 9% per annum, in loan amounts ranging between Ksh. 30,000 to Ksh. 250,000.
● The president directed that 2019 Tea Regulations be gazetted within two weeks to allow tea farmers to sell their produce directly to prospective buyers. He further directed the Ministry of Agriculture to immediately explore the option of KTDA paying farmers no less than 50% of their deliveries as monthly payments with the balance being paid as annual bonus.
● The president directed the National Treasury to immediately operationalise the 3 billion shilling Cherry Revolving Fund within the next 30 days to cushion farmers from delayed payments, and enable them to the access finances to meet their daily cash flow requirements whilst awaiting payments for their produce.
● Treasury was directed to release 1.07 billion to the new KCC to purchase excess milk from farmers to convert it into powder milk for future use and to put up two milk plants, one in Nyeri and one in Nyahururu, to enhance their processing capacity.
● The government has impose 16% VAT on milk products that have originated from outside the EAC and also to impound any powdered milk or milk products that does not meet Kenyan standards.
● Treasury to release Ksh. 300 million to the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority for the construction of cold storage and processing facilities in Nyandarua, Meru and Kisii for storing excess potato and banana produce.
● Treasury to releases Ksh. 660 million to the Kenya National Trading Corporation to purchase all the excess rice from Kano Plains and Mwea for onward selling to our disciplined forces, prisons services as well as our boarding schools.
● To protect local artists, the government has eliminated content service providers who work with digital platforms such as SKIZA and Viusasa and all payments of royalties will be centrally managed at the Kenya Copyright Board.
● The ICT Ministry was also directed to ensure that musicians can now work directly with platforms such as Skiza without middle-men.
● It is now a basic requirement for the broadcasting houses, matatus, hotels, bars and other such premises to meet all their obligations in paying the required tariffs before their business licences are renewed.
● The government has set aside Ksh. 5.2 billion for relief food supplies, resettlement, reconstruction of homes, address health concerns and reconstruct critical infrastructure, including water supplies for floods victims.
● The president directed the Ministry of health to immediately stop the implementation of the recently introduced NHIF proposals to allow for further consultation.
● Uhuru demanded from the Judiciary convictions of graft suspects in the pursuit to win war against corruption. He also directed the NIS to undertake a rigorous review of all cartel groupings especially cartels operating in the public systems of budgeting, procurement, regulation and the illegal rigging of markets.
● On the BBI Initiative, he promised an all inclusive process where no voice will be wrong and all will be heard.
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