Despatch from the Cabinet: Highlights from the March 20 communique

  • 24 Mar 2023
  • 3 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Naisiae Simiren

The country’s national policy organ, the Cabinet, reconvened on 20th March 2023 under the leadership of President William Ruto. In the meeting, the Cabinet considered a number of bills and policy documents that aim to enhance economic productivity through agriculture, investments, trade, and industry.

Key highlights from the communique include: 

  • Scaling up of the national response to drought-ravaged parts of the country. This enhanced scope narrowed down to 22 affected Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) counties, with Marsabit and Turkana counties now classified in the Emergency Drought Phase; while the 10 ASAL counties of Kitui, Kajiado, Kilifi, Makueni, Mandera, Samburu, Tana River, Wajir and Isiolo remaining in the Alarm Drought Phase. The scaled-up national response will continue to cover humanitarian assistance, food assistance, water sector interventions, livestock sector interventions, and peace and security sector building.


  • The Agricultural Soil Management Policy was considered and approved. This is a policy that seeks to transform the agricultural sector by establishing a framework for mapping soil across the country, so as to address low productivity arising from declining soil fertility and deteriorating soil health.


  • The National Phytosanitary Policy was also considered and approved. The policy establishes an effective phytosanitary system that provides a mechanism for preventing the introduction, spread, and establishment of foreign injurious pests and noxious weeds; thereby guaranteeing high standards for plants and plant products exported from Kenya. Similarly, in addressing the threat of pests to production and biodiversity, the policy is expected to herald a new growth frontier for our nation’s horticulture exports that are currently worth about Ksh.170 billion, and also lead to the growth of other agricultural produce and plant products.


  • The policy on the development of our nation’s leather industry was also considered. The policy is a key plank of the Administration’s Transformative Plan for the nation, espoused as the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). The policy positions the leather industry as a key economic driver by unlocking our nation’s leather industry potential which has long been underutilized despite Kenya being home to the third-largest livestock herd in Africa. The aim of the policy is to create over 100,000 direct jobs by providing opportunities for industrial transformation and economic inclusion due to its promotion of strong linkages between the leather industry in Kenya and other economic activities in rural and pastoralist economies, economic activities in the ASALs, and in the contemporary industries that provide inputs required for leather value addition.


  • The Cabinet also approved the Privatization Bill as it seeks to support the state’s divestiture from non-strategic and non-performing sectors. This revised policy shift seeks to revitalize Kenya’s Capital Markets through the review of the framework for State divestiture as part of a wider reform process targeting Public Enterprises.


  • The Cabinet also considered and approved the National Policy on Arbitration. This does not only aim to further cement the place of Nairobi as the premier centre for International Arbitration on the continent but is also part of the State’s intervention measures to decongest our courts and to enhance access to justice by providing high-quality, affordable, timely, and effective alternatives to standard judicial processes. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was used to unlock the impasse in the implementation of the Arror, Kimwarer, and Itare Dam projects, which helped address the huge financial exposure facing the Government of Kenya arising from the unfulfilled debt obligations under the Financing Agreements for the Projects. Consequently, the Government of Kenya has sanctioned negotiated commercial settlements for the Commercial Contracts and Financing Agreements for the Projects.


  • The Cabinet approved the ratification of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty-Related Measures which aims to prevent base erosion and profit shifting. The framework enhances clarity on the taxation of partnerships so as to ensure that loopholes that allow for tax evasion are closed. The framework also improves the dispute resolution mechanisms in place and broadens the tax base by ensuring that multilateral enterprises do not avoid taxation on their activities in Kenya through avoidance of permanent establishment status.


  • The Cabinet also considered and approved the Extradition Treaties between the Republic of Kenya and Italy as a means of promoting effective judicial cooperation. As a consequence of the ratification of treaties, Kenyans who run afoul of the law in the two nations can be extradited for purposes of carrying out criminal proceedings or executing final custodial sentences in Kenya, and vice versa.


  • The Cabinet rescinded the decision of Cabinet in the last administration abolishing the Technical & Vocational Education & Training – Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council, re-establishing the same, as part of its agenda of equipping the youth with technical skills to help them better contribute to our national development, The re-established TVET-CDACC will anchor the development of a learner-centred, flexible, and demand-driven and industry-led TVET curricula for training institutions. This measure secures examination, assessment, and competence certification as the lynchpin for the Administration’s Transformative Plan for the nation, espoused as the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).


  • The Cabinet also approved the accession of Kenya to the membership of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. This is to further strengthen Kenya’s role as an anchor State in regional, continental, and global affairs; whilst also better positioning the nation for both inward investment and promotion of exports