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Ruto announces higher loan limit on Hustler Fund & 5 other Labour Day goodies [Full List]

President Ruto's 6 key highlights from Labour Day speech.

President William Ruto with COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli

President William Ruto on Monday presided over his first Labour Day celebration in office at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

The President began his speech by addressing planned Tuesday protests by the Azimio Opposition wing saying that the leaders should let go of the 2022 General Election and focus on the future.

He also commended union leaders under COTU for their efforts across the country, assuring them that he holds no grudges over the 2022 elections when they sided with his rival Raila Odinga.

"You were within your democratic rights to support the person you chose, don't imagine that I hold a grudge over it. Only remember that you and I share the same employer - the people who choose you to lead them also chose me. We are all working for the citizens of the nation of Kenya, let's work together," the President remarked.

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President Ruto reiterated that his administration is keen to support and elevate the position of the Kenyan workforce terming them as the "jewel" of Kenya's economy.

The Head of State went on to elaborate on six measures that his government has in place to support some of Kenya's growing sectors.

  • Agriculture sector reforms
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President Ruto has announced that his government will dedicate a substantial budget toward the construction of market centres in every constituency in Kenya.

Ruto noted that the move will help farmers access a market for their produce with minimal strain and eliminate the need for brokers who buy produce at lower rates.

He noted that the National Government will allocate Sh5 Billion to the project and county governments will also be required to match the contribution with Sh5 Billion each.

  • EPZ reforms

President Ruto promised to create an average of 2,000 jobs annually through reforms in Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and 'special economic zones' across the country.

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"We're currently setting up an EPZ in Dongo Kundu, we have a new one in Naivasha and we will start five more special economic zones around the country," he stated.

  • Higher Hustler Fund loan limit

The president charged the Ministry of Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development, under CS Simon Chelugui, to accelerate plans in ensuring small traders can access credit facilities through cooperatives and based on their borrowing and repayment records.

Ruto further announced that starting in June, small traders will be able to borrow between Sh10,000 and Sh200,000 from the government's Hustler Fund to empower them to become employers.

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  • Digital economy reforms

Toward realising a 'digital superhighway', President Ruto promised to set up a digital hub in every ward around the country in an effort to increase youth employment in the digital space.

  • Bilateral labour agreements to seek employment for Kenyans overseas

President Ruto announced that during an upcoming visit by the Chancellor of Germany, one of the treaties to be signed will include an agreement to provide labour in the European nation.

He noted that similar agreements will be pursued for Canada, the United States, the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia and seven other nations. Adding that the revenue collected from Kenyans in the diaspora (over Sh400 Billion/year) surpasses revenue from tea exports.

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  • Housing reforms

The Kenya Kwanza government plans to provide 200,000 living spaces annually while creating one million construction jobs toward affordable housing for over 6.5 million Kenyans who currently live in slums.

President Ruto also announced a number of reforms he intends to initiate for better benefits to Kenyan workers.

  1. NSSF reforms - President Ruto explained that the recent increase on NSSF contributions is aimed at guaranteeing Kenyan workers a decent pension upon retirement.
  2. Health sector reforms - the government intends to introduce the role of a Community Health Promoter for every 100 Kenyan households, tasked to monitor health and prevent incidences of people seeking medical attention when their disease has advanced.
  3. NHIF contributions - the standard Sh500, Sh1,200 NHIF contribution model will be revised. For members contributing Sh500, the amount will be lowered to Sh500 and all previous Sh1,200 contributors will now be charged 2.5% of their income.
  4. Income policy for both public & private sectors - the Cabinet is planning to resolve income inequality in the public and private sectors by harmonising salaries and remuneration.
  5. Workplace injuries - Ruto will introduce a Workers' Compensation Plan to insure against workplace injuries and ensure employers don't default on offering the compensation.

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