The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Agriculture, Peter Munya on Monday handed over his former Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Ministry to the new CS, Betty Maina.
Maina who was a former Principal Secretary of Environment assumed her position in a brief ceremony held at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Building, Nairobi
Speaking during the event, Munya promised that he would work closely with the new CS Maina since their ministries complement each other, with 55 percent of materials used in trade coming from Agriculture Ministry.
Munya informed that the new Trade CS declared some pending projects that had been prioritized during his time, urging her to expedited the completion.
He at the same time added that there were crucial policies that needed to be concluded and implemented; He cited policies such as the Automotive Policy, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Policy, Regulation of SME Fund laws and the Local Content Policy and Public Procurement expansion among oithers.
“Our economy is driven by SMEs and about the funds that they needed, treasury has already given indication of the first capitalization of Sh.650 million to the SME sector to begin with,” said Munya.
The CS said that the interruption of coronavirus disease in China has resulted to a challenge in the Kenya trade sector as the suspension of flight causes difficulty in accessing products.
He, however, said that the government is looking forward to the expanded market access with the Chinese partners, China being a big market that Kenya has been conducting trade with.
“We have a scheduled meeting with the Chinese government in June 2020 to conclude negotiation of the first meeting that opened on Kenya exporting Stevia and Avocado to China,” said the CS.
He also recommended that instead of viewing only the negative side of coronavirus, Kenyans should take the opportunity of Chinese-Kenya trade interruption to produce their own products and consume them as they had earlier been complaining of counterfeit goods being brought into the country from China.
Earlier, in an interview with the media, Munya assured Kenyans that the government have placed adequate interventions to mitigate the Locust menace.
The CS said two additional aircrafts from South Africa are already in the country to cater for aerial, spraying of the destructive insects, expressing hope that Locust would have been cleared before the planting season sets in.
The new CS declared that she was looking forward to working with the team as well as to ensure finalization of the ongoing projects that Munya had handed over.
“It is my intention to finalize the pending policies in order to come up with a document to be rolled out so as to bring out a clear programs in support of the SME’s,” she assured.
She further acknowledged the effort that had been put in the industries such as cotton, leather and textile saying that as they work towards ensuring competitive industries, they will support industries to continue producing quality products.
Commenting on the coronavirus threat, the Maina said the government is taking decisive move and will not take chances with the lives of Kenyans.
She added that the government is in the process of preparing strategies that include seclusion sections in major hospitals as well as doing thorough screening of people entering the country through all ports entry points.
By Sheila Jerono/Joy Omonya