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KNBS: Only one in 10 working-age Kenyans has a salaried job

By Dominic Omondi | November 22nd 2018
Jacktone Ahawo, a Jua kali artisan chisels a metal sheet to make a frying pot at Kibuye market in Kisumu

NAIROBI, KENYA: Only one in every ten working age Kenyan is assured of a paycheck at the end of a given period, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The Statistical Abstract 2018 indicates that 2.6 million Kenyans have a wage employment- or are assured of some payment on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for their work.

With official data showing that as of 2016 there were 19.3 million people in the labour force- aged between 15 and 64 years and actively looking for work- this means that a huge chunk of the so-called working Kenyans are engaged in menial jobs, such as those in jua-kali sector where they are not guaranteed of a decent income.

The report also pours cold water on the country’s ambition to become a middle-income economy where consumers have a high purchasing power to splurge on luxurious products in the many malls that are springing up after finding that a paltry 76,804 Kenyans take home monthly wage of more than Sh100,000.  This was an increase of 2,511 from a figure of 74,293 in 2006.

Although majority of people in wage employment are in the private sector- 1,866,389- a good chunk of them, 790,164, live off the public purse a situation that has seen the Government’s wage bill swell in recent times. Ideally, the private sector should employ most of the people as it is the ones that pays taxes for Government to function.

Under the Big Four Agenda, President Uhuru Kenyatta has made job creation one of his legacy projects. Kenyatta expects to unleash jobs in the economy by bolstering the manufacturing sector. 

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