President William Ruto has broken his silence on the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report that was released by the bipartisan team drawn from the ruling Kenya Kwanza and opposition Azimio la Umoja coalition.
Ruto endorses National Dialogue Committee recommendations, reveals next steps
They (NADCO) have given recommendations. All those recommendations are okay - President William Ruto
The head of state praised the committee for fulfilling its mandate, noting that what remains is joining hands to take Kenya forward.
“You’ve heard that those in charge of the Dialogue are done with that work, and we applaud them of finishing that task, now let us join hands and take Kenya forward,” Ruto stated.
The president who was speaking at the Priesthood Fellowship in Kahawa West, Roysambu Constituency on Sunday, November 26, 2023 embraced the recommendations of the report, noting that he is keen on a 50% reduction in government spending.
“They have given recommendations all those recommendations are okay. Where they said we lessen Government spending by 50%, I have done that already.
“Those calling for lessening to be done by 30%, I suggest that they increase it to 50% for Kenya to move forward. We must learn to live within our means,” Ruto stated.
He added that with the committee having tabled its report, the next phase lies with members of Parliament who will debate the recommendations.
“All the other things that they have suggested, it is now up to you MPs to debate on the issue and get done with it so as to continue working together without hate and division,” said Ruto.
Even as the focus is on reducing government spending, the report recommends the introduction of several positions and bodies that will definitely see be funded by the taxpayer.
NADCO recommended the establishment of offices of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Next steps and Karua's verdict
Should the recommendations sail through at the National Assembly, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and opposition leader Raila Odinga could ascend to the offices recommended in the report.
Notably, the committee failed to reach a consensus on a number of issues to address the high cost of living.
"However, the committee was unable to reach a consensus on a number of proposals on the matter of cost of living, including the reductions of VAT on fuel from 16% to 8% and scrapping the housing levy, the twin issues in the Finance Act 2023," reads a section of the report.
On cost of living, NADCO has recommended that all arms of government reduce travel by 50% with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission also reviewing per diem given to state officers during official travel with a view of reducing the same by 30%.
Azimio la Umoja principal Martha Karua has since made it clear that she will reject the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) if the contentious issues of the high cost of living, electoral justice and respect for multiparty democracy are not addressed satisfactorily.
"Any purported agreement that does not immediately impact on cost of living , electoral justice and respect for multiparty democracy is a fraud on the people and must be rejected," Karua said.
Notably, Karua’s remarks come after the committee was unable to agree on key issues touching on the reduction of cost of living.
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