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Graft, unemployment top list of worries, poll reveals



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The best Christmas and New Year gift President Kenyatta and his government could give Kenyans is to sort out the economy, end corruption and create jobs, a survey has established.

The poll, conducted and financed by Infotrak Research and Consulting, shows that most Kenyans want the high cost of living, unemployment and corruption dealt with urgently as the year comes to a close.

Going by the Jubilee campaign manifesto and statements, 2018 was meant to be a year when Kenyans would begin enjoying a raft of economic benefits as set out in promises made by President Kenyatta as he sought re-election last year.

This year was also heralded as the opportune time to usher in an era of economic prosperity, anchored on lower cost of living, increased business and job opportunities.

But that is not the case as shown by a comparative analysis of the issues Kenyans consider most pressing, as measured by region, in the poll that was done between November 29 and December 1.

The study revealed that in Nyanza, the high cost of living was most pressing (32 per cent) while unemployment was the greatest concern of Kenyans in Central (31 per cent) while, for Nairobians, it was corruption at 26 per cent.

“Our survey shows that Kenyans want the President to individually push all other arms of the government to ensure compliance with the law,” Infotrak’s Angela Ambitho noted while releasing the report in Nairobi on Thursday.

A closer look at previous surveys by the same pollster indicates that unemployment, corruption and the high cost of living have always topped the list of concerns at the close of the year.

The increase in the cost of living comes when the local economy is struggling to get into its normal upward trajectory as shown in the Economic Survey 2018, which indicates the economy grew by 4.9 per cent last year and is expected to accelerate to 5.8 per cent this year — nearing the 5.9 per cent growth rate of 2016.

This was the slowest margin in five years on the back of prolonged electoral process and adverse weather conditions during the period.

Also, the inflation rate in July surged to a four-month high of 4.35 per cent, with projections showing it would rise further over increased prices of basic commodities.

Following the calling of a truce between political arch-rivals President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, political turmoil has quietened.

All sectors of the economy are expected to ride on this stability to improve things for Kenyans in 2019.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report states that more investments will be undertaken in the government’s Big Four priority areas, namely, universal healthcare, affordable housing, manufacturing and food security.

Key investments in the Big Four agenda will put the country’s economy back on track according to government policymakers, but still a majority of Kenyans are not aware of what the development plan is all about.

Infotrak says that out of the 1,500 respondents interviewed through telephone interviews, 53 per cent are not aware of the President’s Big Four agenda, while 47 per cent are.

Lowest awareness is in Western (34 per cent), Coast (35 per cent) and Rift Valley (42 per cent) while highest awareness is in Central (61 per cent) and Nairobi (59 per cent).

Of those who are aware, 92 per cent support the Big Four agenda.