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State to channel Sh6b to youth through CDF

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By - NICHOLAS WAITATHU | Jul 16th 2013 | 4 min read
By - NICHOLAS WAITATHU | July 16th 2013
FINANCIAL STANDARD

By NICHOLAS WAITATHU

Government will disburse the Sh6 billion to youth and women through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The credit dubbed Uwezo Fund, will be distributed to millions of youth and women in the country to finance their start-up business activities.

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru confirmed that Government has formulated a framework for the management of the special youth and women fund.

She said last week that the kitty will be implemented through the CDF framework in all the 290 constituencies and not through devolved units.

“We will start disbursing the funds once we carry out capacity building to the targeted groups. This is part of the promises President Kenyatta made to the youth during the political campaigns before March 4 General Election,” she said.

presidential pledge

During the political campaigns leading the March 4 polls, Kenyatta promised to make credit accessible to the youth and women. The Government had by then had set aside Sh6 billion for the run-off.

Last week, Waiguru confirmed that the new fund will not be channeled through the current devolved funds. This is due to its nature and equally the other kitties will continue to draw resources from the ministry budget.

“We named the  kitty Uwezo Fund to differentiate it from other devolved funds. More so, it is guided by the Jubilee Government promises made before the March 4, 2013, General election,” Waiguru said.

AGE BRACKET 18-35

There has been hope that the money will be disbursed through the existing youth funds based on the already established governance structures.

But, different have questioned the move, calling for restructuring of the two devolved funds before more money is allocated. The two decentralised funds were created during former President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.

YEDF was established in 2006 to reduce unemployment among the youth who account for over 61 per cent of the jobless in the country. The fund targeted young people within the age bracket of 18 to 35 years.

Catherine Namuye, YEDF acting chief executive officer says the fund since inception has financed over 180,000 youth enterprises to the tune of Sh6 billion. “Most of the youth the Fund has supported since inception are big employers today,” Namuye said.

“We have equally supported thousands of youth build their enterprises through market support and entrepreneurship training.” The Fund has trained over 259,000 young entrepreneurs. Women Fund was established in August 2007, to provide accessible and affordable credit. It was intended to support women start and expand business for wealth and employment creation.

nationwide campaign

Waiguru explained that intensive capacity building over and campaigns will be carried out before the official launch of the Fund.  “Distinctly separate from other existing youth and women enterprise funds, the new Fund to be launched through an impending nationwide campaign will be channeled through the 290 Constituencies using the CDF Framework,” she said.

“It will operate as a revolving Fund to ensure continuity and sustainability.” In addition, Waiguru said the fund will be linked to the 30 per cent public procurement preference.

This, she added will seal the loopholes between access to opportunities for enterprise development and supply side capabilities.

Last week president Kenyatta confirmed that implementation of new procurement preferences is going in all State agencies. He assured the targeted group that the new promise will be implemented to the latter.

In the new procurement preferences youth, women, people with disabilities, and other small and micro-enterprises will not pay fees for copies of tender documents.

Currently procuring entities within government circles have been charging tenders between Sh3,000 and Sh7,000 respectively for tender documents.

 Government intention is to assist the youth, women and the disabled entrepreneurs enjoy a share the size of government procurement business which stands at Sh250 billion yearly.

In the 2013/14 Budget National Treasury allocated youth development and empowerment services Sh25.86 billion.

The budgetary allocation will be utilised to equip the youth with relevant skills, knowledge and right attitudes for the labour market and be productive citizens. Social Impact Institute – Africa (SII) a capacity development firm that offers a range of services and also runs its own portfolio of programs, hailed the idea to disburse the funds through the CDF framework saying it will reach and benefit more interested people.

 SII Managing Director Wanjiru Gathira advised that government needs to partner with other stakeholders before disbursing the funds.

Lucrative business

Youth need to be trained on entrepreneurial skills so that they benefit by been able to identify the market lucrative business opportunities. Further training will assist wise commitment of the funds.

“As promoters of youth affairs we are ready to partner with the government in training the targeted group with the view to ensure prudent commitment of the funds,” Wanjiru stated recently. Since MPs oversee the implementation of CDF, women county representatives want to be allowed to manage the fund.


 

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