Nairobi — In his inaugural State of the Nation Address to a joint session of Parliament, President William Ruto pledged the government’s unwavering commitment to addressing the soaring cost of living.
However, he cautioned that stringent measures would be put in place to achieve this goal.
President Ruto acknowledged that the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, disruptions in the global supply chain, and geopolitical conflicts had significantly contributed to rising inflation.
He highlighted the pressing need for practical and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by Kenyans, emphasizing that the country had been living beyond its means.
“As I told Kenyans on my first day in office, times were difficult, and many people are struggling, necessitating urgent and effective sustainable solutions. We must admit that as a country, we had been living large and way beyond our means,” President Ruto stated.
The President explained that the government had directed its efforts towards agricultural investments as a means to mitigate the impact of high living costs. He reaffirmed his commitment to ending hunger in Kenya.
President Ruto also pointed out that the government had succeeded in reducing the cost of living for certain essential commodities, such as maize flour, which is now retailing at prices ranging from Sh 145 to Sh 175 on the higher end.
He added, “The fertilizer subsidy program has made 5.5 million bags available to farmers across the country. A 2kg packet of maize flour now costs as low as Sh 145 and a high of Sh 175. A bag of maize is now selling within the range of Sh 60 to Sh 75.”
President Ruto emphasized that past policy errors, including subsidies, had resulted in wasteful expenditures that had contributed to an increase in the country’s debt ceiling.
“We must admit that as a country, we had been living large and way beyond our means. The time has come to retire the false comforts and illusionary benefits of wasteful expenditure,” President Ruto concluded.