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Ruto speaks as government outlines measures to combat COVID-19

By Evans Maritim
Thursday, March 26th, 2020
Deputy President William Ruto addresses faithful at Friends Church in Lang’ata, Nairobi in the past. Photo/DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday told Kenyans to rally behind President Uhuru Kenyatta and support government's measures to combat coronavirus that has seen 28 people test positive in Kenya.

In a post on his official Twitter handle, Ruto said: "At the heart of stopping the spread of the virus is personal behaviour; washing hands, sanitizing, social distancing, avoid crowd, stay home."

The President and his deputy will take a pay cut of up to 80 percent in the new proposed measures.

Apart from the two, who took a voluntary reduction in salaries, others  include Cabinet Secretaries and Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) who are to take a 30 percent pay cut while Principal Secretaries will take a 20 percent reduction.

“In sharing the burden occasioned by the present global health pandemic, over the duration of the global crisis and commencing immediately, my administration has offered a voluntary reduction in the salaries of the senior ranks of the National Executive,” said the President in his address.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) set the President’s monthly basic salary to about Sh1.65 million while that of Ruto is about Sh1.4 million, the amount excluding allowances.

“I call on the other arms of government and tiers of government to join us in this national endeavour, by making similar voluntary reductions; which will free-up monies to combat this pandemic,” the President said.

President Uhuru also said all ministries and departments should cause the payment of at least of Sh13 billion of the verified pending bills, within three weeks from yesterday. 

And to improve liquidity in the economy and ensure businesses remain afloat by enhancing their cash flows, Uhuru said the private sector is encouraged to clear all outstanding payments among themselves within three weeks.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was directed to expedite payment of all verified Value Added Tax (VAT) refund claims amounting to Sh10 billion within three weeks or in the alternative, allow for offsetting of withholding VAT, in order to improve cash flows for businesses.

Further to guidelines issued encouraging State agencies to establish and implement frameworks for staff to work from home, the President directed that all State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above, serving in Job Group S and below or their equivalents, take leave or forthwith work from home.

However, this excludes excluding personnel in the security sector and other essential services as outlined in the circular issued to the Public Service on March 16.

He assured that the government, at both the national and county levels, are implementing strict evaluation and monitoring protocol, designed to proactively seek out and test persons who may be carriers of this virus.

“I recognise the anxiety that this pandemic has caused millions of Kenyan families; fearful of what the future may hold for them and their children. And the possibility of job losses and loss of income weighing heavily on their minds,” he said.

The National Treasury is expected to implement immediate reliefs and increase disposable income Kenyans.

The President also re-organised the ordinary calendar of Cabinet, its committees and key State agencies so as to apply a whole-of-government approach to the coronavirus pandemic and to foster enhanced responses to the same.

“We have further introduced close co-ordination and collaboration with the counties in addition to the establishment of sectoral working groups to more effectively and expeditiously implement action-points,” the President said.

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