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The Money Men: 7 Cabinet Secretaries to Watch in Ruto’s Administration

Here, Business Today looks at key faces among the cabinet nominees whose moves and decisions various stakeholders in business will be watching keenly

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President William Ruto on Tuesday, September 27 nominated his cabinet. The team will be tasked with implementation of Ruto’s ‘Bottom Up’ economics among other campaign commitments even as the country finds itself in a precarious economic situation

Here, Business Today looks at key faces in the cabinet whose moves and decisions various stakeholders in business will be watching keenly, should they sail through vetting by the National Assembly.

Njuguna Ndung’u – Treasury and Social Planning

Njuguna Ndung’u will be the man in the hot seat as Cabinet Secretary for the Treasury and Social Planning. The expectations of Kenyans, particularly the ‘Hustlers’ who propelled Ruto to power, are high but the economist must manage an economy increasingly burdened by rising inflation, record-high food and fuel prices, mounting public debt repayments and the weakened shilling.

Already, President Ruto has tasked Ndung’u and his ICT counterpart Eliud Owalo to work on a product that will allow Kenyans to access loans at single-interest digit rates, likely to be offered in partnership with banks. He will also be responsible for crafting the overhauled credit rating mechanism which Ruto has promised will enable access to credit to millions of Kenyans.

READ MORE>>Ruto’s Plan to Rescue Blacklisted Kenyans & Make Loans Cheaper

Kenya Kwanza leaders including Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua also claim to have inherited empty public coffers from the previous administration. Nonetheless, they have promised to deliver on promises which include the Ksh50 billion Hustlers Fund for SME financing and 250,000 new affordable housing units a year.

Ndung’u, an economist, former university professor and economic researcher, is a former Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). He served for two consecutive terms between 2007 and 2015.

Moses Kuria – Trade, Investment and Industry

The former Gatundu South MP and Chama Cha Kazi party leader failed in his bid for the Kiambu gubernatorial seat, but found a soft landing as he was nominated by the President as CS for Trade, Investment and Industry. The position puts Kuria in a central role in fostering a conducive environment for business in Kenya, attracting investment and accelerating industrialization.

Essentially, the implementation of Ruto’s bottom-up ethos, which includes easier compliance, friendlier taxation and the end of harassment of businesses, will be influenced heavily by Kuria’s docket.

While he makes headlines more for his political rants, Kuria is actually a skilled career banker and accountant who spent almost two decades working in senior roles for banks in Kenya and the Middle East.

Florence Bore – Labour

You can’t talk about business without talking about workers, and therefore former Kericho Woman Representative Florence Bore will be in focus as Cabinet Secretary for Labour. With inflation on the rise and prices of key commodities including food and fuel skyrocketing, Kenyan workers’ spending power is being eroded.

When presiding over his last Labour Day as President in 2022, former President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the increase of minimum wage by 12 percentage points effective May 1, 2022. The move was aimed at cushioning Kenyan workers from the high cost of living occasioned by the lingering impact of Covid-19 among other factors.

At the same time, concerns remain on the state of labour rights in the country and overseas  – particularly in the Middle Eastern nations where cases of Kenyan workers being mistreated by their employers remains common.

Eliud Owalo

Eliud Owalo, a skilled economy, is the new Cabinet Secretary for ICT and the digital economy. He will be tasked with the implementation of a raft of promises contained in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto – including the promise of free internet and phone calls for every household.

Ruto had stated that the project would cost Ksh38 billion and emulate the Last Mile Connectivity program which delivered electricity to numerous rural households.

“As Kenya Kwanza, we have decided to do as we did with the Last Mile Connectivity electricity program to connect every Kenyan household with internet. We will send to every home, market, and school connected with electrical grids. The team has done the math and the project will cost at least Ksh38 billion,” the President stated.

Ruto has also tasked Owalo alongside his Treasury counterpart to develop a product that will allow Kenyans to access credit at single-digit interest rates.

Davis Chirchir – Energy and Petroleum

Davis Chirchir, a close ally of Ruto, makes a cabinet comeback as Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum. The high cost of power has been a major issue in recent times, with a taskforce recommending the renegotiation of power purchase agreements signed by State-owned power utility.

Businesses and individuals who are keen on lowering their costs will be watching keenly. Businesses who have also been switching to large-scale solar will also be keen on the implications of any new regulations.

KPLC blackouts and the high cost of power has driven many of the utility’s biggest customers – industries – to set up their own power plants.

READ MORE>>Kenya Power Muscles Solar Market With New Regulations

Kipchumba Murkomen – Roads, Transport and Public Works

Kipchumba Murkomen is among a handful of elected legislators who were nominated by President Ruto to his cabinet. He was elected Senator of Elgeyo-Marakwet for a second term in the 2022 polls. Having accepted the position, he is forced to resign his Senate seat and a by-election will be held in Elgeyo-Marakwet to replace him

As CS for Roads, Transport and Public Works he will be responsible for the steering of many of the most capital intensive projects in the country. The Ruto team has slammed former President Uhuru Kenyatta for his government’s focus on debt-funded mega-infrastructure projects including the Nairobi expressway. Ruto has promised to focus on products that create jobs and value for Kenyans at the bottom of the pyramid, such as his rent-to-own housing plan.

It remains to be seen how the new administration will improve the country’s transport infrastructure, including roads. The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is also currently staring at a massive drop-off in revenue after Ruto dropped the requirement for importers with onward cargo to use the SGR from the Port of Mombasa to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).

READ MORE>>Rent-to-Own: Revisiting Ruto’s Mega Housing Plan

Rebecca Miano – East African Community, Arid and Semi Arid Lands and Regional Development 

Rebecca Miano, a lawyer, has served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of KenGen – the region’s largest power generating company, since 2017. She was nominated by Ruto as Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, Arid and Semi Arid Lands and Regional Development.

Miano will be at the centre of important decisions affecting businesses in the region. The country has been at loggerheads with neighbours including Uganda and Tanzania, key trade partners, over various fees charged for cross-border trade as well as problematic policies.

Miano made her mark at KenGen as the company grew its capacity and began exporting its expertise to countries including Ethiopia and Djibouti. It remains to be seen how well she will take to her new role at the centre of regional trade, as well as the arid and semi-arid lands.

READ NEXT>>KPA Implements Ruto’s Order – See New Options for Importers




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MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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