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How State milks millions from desperate job seekers

WORK LIFE
By Geoffrey Mosoku | April 16th 2017

The Government is raking in millions of shillings from desperate job seekers in costly requirements for a myriad of documents required in applications for work.

Apart from academic papers, most state agencies require additional documents, which include compliance certificates from the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Others are a certificate of good conduct from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) certificate and a letter from Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) indicating the applicant doesn’t owe any financial institution money.

Huge numbers

Charging by the huge number of Kenyans applying for jobs, a single exercise attracting 60,000 persons may give the government about Sh282 million. These requirements cost about Sh4,700 per person to obtain.

The amount includes Sh2,200 for CRB, Sh1,000 for good conduct, Sh1,000 for Helb and Sh500 for EACC.

“Other than the cost for the documents, job seekers also incur other expenses emanating from their movement from one place to another in search of the documents.

We do not want state agencies which are already funded by the taxpayers to profiteer from desperate Kenyans who are searching for jobs,” Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura told The Sunday Standard.

Mr Mwaura says he nevertheless plans to bring a petition to Parliament to scrap these requirements.

On the other end of the scale, state agencies are facing a herculean challenge in processing the huge number of applications. The logistical nightmare has compelled some institutions to be creative in handling the applications. Some institutions have had   to cancel recruitment exercise altogether.

Last year, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority was forced to cancel an internship programme that sought to hire 21 youths when thousands applied for the job. The corporation had to hire a truck to transport the applications from the post office and lease a go-down to store the letters.

The Judiciary also faced a similar logistical problem when more than 60,000 people applied for the 1,000 advertised clerical jobs and interpreters. Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi concedes that they have to put up with getting more resources and personnel to handle the overwhelming number of candidates.

“We have to get extra personnel to receive and register the applications since most of them are hand delivered and also look for extra storage for the thousands of documents received,” Ms Amadi says.

Other institutions that have been receiving a high number of candidates include the security organs with National Police Service and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) leading the pack.

Last year, KDF recruited 2,000 personnel but almost 50,000 people turned up for the recruitment exercise conducted across all counties.

With statistics indicating that unemployment rates stand at 40 per cent, the situation can only get worse.

The World Bank estimates that about 800,000 Kenyans who graduate from various training institutions enter the job market annually, yet only about 70,000 or less than 10 per cent can be absorbed into formal employment.

However, Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, who is also the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) Secretary,  says they are pleased that more Kenyans want to be hired in the civil service.

Junior positions

“Its encouraging that many Kenyans now find pride in working for public service. It would have been discouraging if PSC advertised and receives zero or few applications.

For us the 40,000 applicants are not in any way inconveniencing but giving us an opportunity to pick the best and meet the diversity requirements of the law,” Nyegenye said.

Both the Judiciary and Parliament have provided relief by exempting clearance documents at the preliminary stage or for junior positions.

“We only require the candidates to meet basic requirements like providing their education testimonials and only ask for documents from EACC, KRA, Helb and CRB for those who have succeeded in the final shortlist,” Nyegenye says.

“At times, we ask candidates to apply for certificates of good conduct once they have been successfully recruited.

This is done in consideration that some of the recruits come from far-flung areas where applying for the document takes along time,” said Police Spokesman Charles Owino.

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