Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday appealed to Parliament fast-rack critical legislation that will facilitate implementation of his Big Four agenda.
In his State of the Nation address to Parliament, Uhuru also told the MPs that he settled on the four areas following discussions with Kenyans about their problems and prospects during the election campaigns.
“I have already spoken about the “Big Four Agenda” in other forums but it deserves me talking about it to you, not least because I will rely on you to pass the legislation upon which it depends,” he told the joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate.
He urged Members of the National Assembly and Senators to join him in making the ambitious agenda, which focuses on manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security, a success.
On universal healthcare, he said extensive work had been done to facilitate access to quality and affordable health services even as he emphasised on the need to improve immunisation which he said, had dropped from 90 per cent to 70 per cent.
He outlined the achievements gained in provision of healthcare including increasing the number of health facilities from 9,000 in 2013 to 11,000 in 2017, widening of the National Hospital Insurance Fund coverage from a membership of 3.8 million in 2013 to 7.2 million now, as well as an increment for coverage of expectant mothers and raised deliveries by skilled attendants from 44 per cent in 2013 to 66 per cent in 2017.
On food security, Uhuru said steps had been taken to help Kenyans affected by the long drought that hit the country last year and early this year. Safety net He said the Hunger Safety Net Programme had come to the aid of vulnerable households in arid and semi-arid areas.
On affordable housing, the President said a new housing programme had been designed to incorporate the private sector in the development of homes. His dream, he said, is to see Kenyans of modest incomes owning homes.