NAIROBI – The Kenya Cabinet has issued a warning to people spreading fake news on the Coronavirus situation in the country, saying purveyors of such information will be dealt with in accordance with established laws.
The Cabinet meeting held on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at State House, Nairobi and chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, directed law enforcement agencies to pursue and arrest individuals spreading false information on the disease.
The Cabinet sitting acknowledged the critical role played by the media in relaying proper information and thanked the Kenyan media for their leading role in awareness creation on the global pandemic.
Further, the Cabinet thanked media houses led by the national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), whose platforms are being used to air educational programs for school children.
As part of concerted efforts by the Government to protect Kenyans from exploitation by wayward traders, the Cabinet directed security and consumer protection agencies to intensify the ongoing crack down on businesses that are taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak to hoard and/or hike commodity prices.
Additionally, the Cabinet tasked the multi-agency team on contraband goods to release 400,000 litres of ethanol held as exhibit material to manufacturers for the blending of hand sanitizers for distribution to the public.
Today’s Cabinet meeting also received and discussed a report from the National Treasury on the projected impact of Coronavirus pandemic to the economy and resolved to align budgetary allocations and other fiscal considerations accordingly.
Further, the Cabinet discussed and agreed to a request by the African Union and the World Health Organization for Kenya to host the African Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC).
The Africa CDC will position Kenya as a regional and continental hub in medical research and disease control, and give the country a head start in combating disease outbreaks like the current Coronavirus pandemic.
As part of its support towards the establishment of the Africa CDC in Kenya, the Chinese Government has offered to put up a twenty-one storey office building at an estimated cost of Kshs 8.3 billion. Once complete, Africa CDC will provide job opportunities to Kenyans in technical, administrative and support functions.
On pending bills, the Cabinet was briefed on the status of outstanding payments in the Prisons Department and the National Youth Service (NYS), and resolved to set up a Shs14 billion special fund to pay genuine suppliers.
Today’s Cabinet meeting also discussed reforms at National Cereals and Produce Board and Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund and directed the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning to wind up the Strategic Food Reserve Fund within 6 months in accordance with section 24(9) of the Public Finance Management Act 2012 and regulation 209 of the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations 2015.
The Cabinet also directed Cabinet Secretaries for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, and the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning to establish a National Food Reserve system which will procure receipts through competitive commercial processes using the Warehouse Receipt System so as to avoid market distortions.
It further directed the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture to prepare legislative reforms of the National Cereals and Produce Board to establish the National Food Reserve and NCPB Trading Divisions.
In addition, the Cabinet directed the Cabinet Secretaries for Agriculture and Treasury to take administrative steps to cause NCPB to cede at least 5 million bags or 25% of the current NCPB stock holding through commercial lease so as to spur growth of private sector roles and the Warehouse Receipt System operations.
Today’s Cabinet meeting was also briefed on Wildlife Policy reforms and the ongoing restructuring of the civil aviation sector. The Cabinet approved the new National Civil Aviation Sector Management Bill. The Bill is part of bold steps being taken by the Government to position Kenya as Africa’s leading aviation hub.