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President Ruto outlined plans for agriculture, financial inclusion, diaspora employment, healthcare, and workers' welfare at Kenya's 58th Labour Day. The plans include investing in marketplaces, empowering MSMEs, signing bilateral agreements for diaspora employment, and improving healthcare and workers' welfare policies.
On Monday, May 1, 2023, Kenya held its 58th Labour Day celebration at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi. The serving president Dr William Samoei Ruto, graced the event, outlining some key issues in his speech while addressing Kenyans. He discussed various areas, from creating job opportunities and health to financial inclusion.
First, President William Ruto acknowledged that the Kenyan agricultural sector is critical in creating employment. Therefore, he outlined that his government is committed to investing in Ksh. Three billion to build and expand marketplaces in each constituency in Kenya. The plan is intended to give farmers better real value and eliminate brokers who buy agricultural produce at low prices to exploit farmers. Consequently, Kenyan farmers can earn a decent living. He further outlined the government is working on export promotion programs for agricultural produce.
President Ruto further discussed the financial inclusion of small-scale, informal sector workers and entrepreneurs through the Hustler Fund program. He said that nearly 15 million Kenyans had borrowed Ksh. 27.6 billion and Ksh. 17.6 billion has been repaid. He further promised Kenyans that in the coming months, Kenyans under the above-outlined category will be able to access as little as Ksh. 10,000 to Ksh. 200,000 to empower MSMEs.
Thirdly, in his speech, the president discussed the government's plan to sign bilateral agreements with various countries in the Middle East, Europe, and North America to secure diaspora employment opportunities for Kenyans. The first labour pact is expected to be signed this May 4 with German's Chancellor, Olaf Scholz. According to President Ruto, Germany has nearly 250 million job opportunities, and Kenyans can grab some. He emphasizes the critical role diaspora remittances play in the Kenyan economic growth.
President William Ruto also announced changes in the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in his speech. He said that from July, the lowest-paid Kenyan workers and self-employed contributors would contribute Ksh. 300 instead of the current Ksh. 500 NHIF monthly contribution. Those employed are required to contribute 2.7% of their earning. This move is aimed at bringing about an equitable contribution mechanism. The president also urged Kenyan workers to strengthen and sustain a robust national saving culture. He emphasized the significance of NSSF contributions to protect Kenyan workers from hardships and indignity during their retirement period.
Lastly, the president mentioned his government's role in enhancing workers' welfare and labour interests. It's intended to be achieved through a new Wage and Remuneration Policy. This policy aims to reconfigure and harmonize how workers in both private and public sectors are paid. He also stated plans to change the structure of how employees injured in the workplace are compensated through a new social insurance scheme called the Workers Compensation Fund. Employers will be required to contribute an insurance premium to ensure that if a worker is injured, there is a fund to compensate them.
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