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ELECTION 2022

President Uhuru Kenyatta warns over delay to pay youth

COUNTIES
By Roselyne Obala | Oct 4th 2016 | 3 min read
President Uhuru Kenyatta chats with gospel musician Bahati during the Youth Summit at State House in Nairobi yesterday. The president has put on notice procurement officers who delay payments to youth, women and persons with disabilities. (PHOTO: WILBERFORCE KWIRI/ STANDARD)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has put on notice procurement officers who delay payments to youth, women and persons with disabilities.

He expressed displeasure following complaints by young people over failure to implement Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) and the Public Procurement and Disposal law.

The youth, who constitute about 75 per cent of the country's population, cited corruption and 'red tape' in the Government as hindrances to the realisation of the pledge contained in Jubilee administration's manifesto.

Speaking during yesterday's State House Summit on the Youth, Uhuru read the riot act to procurement officers whom he cautioned would lose their jobs if found culpable.

The President warned that any official who will be named in the yet-to-be-released 'list of shame' by the joint parliamentary committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity will be sacked.

He directed the Director Public Procurement at the ministry of National Treasury Eric Korir, who had earlier confirmed at the meeting that as at last Friday all ministries' requests had been paid, to follow up with his juniors.

"It should be abundantly clear to everyone that AGPO is now law, not a policy or suggestion," he said.

Earlier, Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) and delegates attending the event questioned the ministry officials led by Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki on how they plan to mitigate the matter, address corruption claims and build public confidence in light of scandals at the National Youth Service and Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

Nominated Senator Johnston Sakaja also weighed in on the matter.

"Young people should no longer be defined by statistics but with opportunities and successes. AGPO is no longer a policy but law. Each procurement entity must observe the 30 per cent rule and pay the youth on time," said Sakaja.

He continued: "AGPO now has a secretariat that should monitor the process. Every six months, we are going to get a report before my committee and will produce the list of shame both for counties and the ministries. We must enforce the law."

The youth, some of who shared their success stories at the summit, also revealed their frustrations and called on the Government to find some sort of amnesty for those blacklisted by CRB due to delayed payments.

But Ms Kariuki and Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo, though confirming that implementation of AGPO was still a challenge, confirmed that in the past two months they had committed to pay Sh1.2 billion pending AGPO payments.

"As at yesterday by close of business, we had paid Sh1.1 billion. We have Sh100,000 outstanding and we have asked the youth, especially those owed under the NYS, to come and see us," said Omollo.

The Summit brings together Government officials and Kenya's youth, as well as civil society and the private sector to reflect on the progress and see how to do more to empower the youth.

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