President Uhuru Kenyatta appoints acting finance minister, Ukur Yatani, to the job. 

Kenya’s president reshuffled his cabinet and announced the government’s economic strategy for the next few months. 

Ukur Yatani who has been acting in the role since last July, in replacement of Henry Rotich, the former finance minister, has won some praise for taking tentative steps towards reining in government spending and a growing debt burden.

Prior to being the acting finance minister of Kenya, Yatani served as ambassador to Austria and a regional governor. He is also a former labour minister in 2018. He has a degree in economics and sociology.

Meanwhile, the minister of agriculture was removed from the cabinet and new ministers for health and industrialisation were nominated.

Kenyatta has pledged to give full attention to the economy in the next few months, acknowledging that many people have been complaining of severe hardships in recent years.

He urged the central bank to use all its tools to prevent predatory lending and to boost affordable credit, especially to small and medium enterprises.

“This sector is indeed the lifeblood of our economy,” he said in a televised address.

Kenya is enjoying a stable foreign exchange rate, low inflation and a reduced current account deficit. But it is still suffering from a sense of economic malaise, concern over mounting debt, sluggish revenue growth, corruption scandals, slowing output and job losses.

Kenyatta said that the government had paid about 70% of all pending bills to suppliers. Frequent delays in those payments have been blamed for hitting small businesses and costing jobs.