Youth seek merger of affirmative action funds
By James Wanzala
| Dec 13th 2021 | 2 min read
Youth organisations have called for the merger of the three affirmative action funds into one entity - Biashara Fund Kenya.
Speaking in Nairobi last week, youth entities including Pawa 254, Youth Service Organisation and ActionAid, sought speedy implementation of the recommendations by the Presidential Taskforce on Parastatal Reforms (PTPR).
In 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta set up a PTPR to interrogate the policies on the management and governance of Kenya’s parastatals.
Among the recommendations was the amalgamation of all affirmative action funds including Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and Women Enterprise Fund into Biashara Kenya Fund.
‘‘The amalgamation process of these affirmative action funds as recommended by the task force ran into legal hurdles that effectively stopped the operationalisation of the new proposed fund, and the Biashara Fund Kenya Bill never made it to the floor of parliament for enactment into law,’’ the youth lobbies said.
The committee led by Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Boss Shollei, said the merger did not provide tangible strategies to address the challenges facing the funds.
‘‘The merger will also result in the loss of identity for women and youth and likely marginalise People with Disabilities, which defeats the purpose for which the tree funds were established," noted the committee in part.
The youth organisations claimed the delay has stalled the entrepreneurship spirit among many young people who have no access to capital.
''In the current budget, the State allocated Sh454 million to YEDF, which is hardly enough to cater for the fund's yearly budgetary operations and dispensing of the much-needed loans to vulnerable youth who require cash injections to power their entrepreneurial spirit,’’ they said.
They demanded State assurance in unlocking the impasse on affirmative action funds and called for increased budgetary allocation to YEDF to at least Sh1 billion.
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