MP asks State to secure jobs for the youth after ‘Kazi Mtaani’
A Kiambu Member of Parliament has termed unemployment among the youth in the country as a time bomb which calls for prompt detonation.
Limuru MP Peter Mwathi challenged the government to look for a permanent and sustainable solution towards addressing unemployment which he said was increasing by the day.
While lauding President Uhuru Kenyatta for initiating the Kazi Mtaani program in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak to cushion the jobless youth from the effects of Covid-19, Mwathi said that the initiative is not long-term and hence not possible to assure the youth sustainable employment in the future.
"There will be life after Covid-19. People will require food and clothing as well as pay their other compulsory bills and needs and I wonder where those in the programme will go 'kazi ikiisha'," he said.
He urged the government to go back to the drawing board and restructure the initiative efficiently adding that the number of those benefitting from the same is insignificantly low.
"Many many youths have been locked out of the programme which though noble is concentrated in slums at the expense of those in other areas who lost their livelihoods too, feels discriminated and are in dire need of financial support," he said.
Mwathi was speaking at Model Primary School in Limuru town where 57 youth and women groups as well as people living with disabilities are undergoing mentorship and entrepreneurial skills training ahead of being allocated Uwezo funds amounting to 8 million Kenya shillings.
The MP who is also the Parliamentary Labour and Welfare chairman urged the government to consider increasing money allocated to the Youth Enterprise Development Fund so that the youth can acquire loans to engage in self employment.
"I beseech Uhuru to prevail upon Treasury to increase the funds so that the youth who are currently engaged in the Kazi Mtaani programme and millions of others who are unfruitful in seeking employment can have access to loans and initiate income-generating activities in their localities and more so in their areas of interest," said he.
The chairman added, "If we as leaders and a government don't plan for the youth now, it will be chaotic when the Kazi Mtaani initiate comes to the end in January next year. My biggest issue is the sustainability of the programme post Covid-19 because the beneficiaries will be lendered jobless".
He further said that it would be prudent for those engaged in the initiative to be educated on life skills and entrepreneurship so that they can be in a position to use their wages prudently.
Sub-County Youth and Gender Manager Purity Karimi regretted that those given Uwezo Fund loans in the past had defaulted making it difficult for others to benefit.
She said that failure by beneficiaries had caused a 4-years delay as the Uwezo fund committee unsuccessfully burnt the midnight oil looking for defaulters.
"We had actually even nursed the idea of reporting the defaulters to the CRB in order to recover close to 5 million shillings which is yet to be repaid," she disclosed.
Karimi advised groups which will be benefit to embrace the Table Banking initiative which she said is sustainable and loss proof.
She at the same time called upon the National Uwezo Fund Board to put in place legal loan-recovery processes and procedures in order for the entity to avoid losing money.
"We currently find it difficult to recover the loans because tracing the allottees is cumbersome. We are however trying to use chiefs and community leaders to trace them despite the fact that most defaulters have since either fled, died, or squandered the money," she said.