President William Ruto recently spoke in an exclusive interview about various aspects of Kenya’s current situation. One key topic was the absence of Presidents Museveni and Suluhu from Kenya’s 60th Jamhuri Day celebrations. President Ruto dismissed claims of strained relations and explained that it’s not customary for Heads of State to attend other countries’ celebrations.
President Ruto touched on the economic landscape, attributing exchange rate fluctuations to global factors like the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions in Europe. He defended his administration’s strategies to manage inflation and money supply, including a successful oil import deal with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Highlighting the need to reduce unnecessary imports, especially in cement, steel, and furniture, President Ruto advocated for local manufacturing. He emphasized plans to boost foreign exchange reserves and create job opportunities for Kenyans abroad through bilateral labour agreements with several countries.
Addressing concerns about fuel prices, President Ruto clarified that producers, not the government, determine them. He compared Kenya’s tax-to-GDP ratio favorably with other countries and discussed the government’s efforts to keep taxes at 15.6% of GDP.
President Ruto acknowledged fiscal challenges, revealing that a significant portion of taxes collected goes towards debt repayment. He emphasized the government’s priorities in education, health, security, and public sector salaries.
Regarding the country’s debt, President Ruto asserted that Kenya is out of debt distress, attributing this achievement to tough decisions made during his presidency. He acknowledged the challenges citizens face but expressed optimism in the government’s efforts to stimulate economic growth.
President Ruto addressed job losses, refuting claims and highlighting the government’s employment initiatives, including hiring teachers and individuals in the housing program. He revealed a 50% cut in the budget for travel and entertainment, defending his extensive travels as essential for addressing national issues.
On corruption, President Ruto stressed the importance of digitization to curb corruption, assuring the independence of the Judiciary. He addressed political cases, urging investigative agencies to focus on dispensing justice independently.
President Ruto also discussed the proposal to privatize the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), envisioning its transformation into an international conference centre while preserving its national heritage.