Photo: Courtesy

The National Government seeks to devolve employment services to the counties in a bid to reduce joblessness among the youth. In a recommendation contained in the just-released Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, the government seeks to create County Employment Bureaus to benefit youths seeking employment at the county level.

The initiative is expected to widen the outreach of the fledgling National Employment Authority (NEA) established five years ago. According to the law, NEA is mandated to perform three major functions: provision of public employment services, registration of employment agencies as well as offering internship services.

The authority’s mandate on provision of public employment services revolves around registration of Kenyans seeking employment, linking job seekers with opportunities, assisting employers to recruit workers with appropriate skills and provision of labour market information especially on employment matters.

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This comes as a relief to thousands of qualified but jobless Kenyans. NEA has put the rate of unemployment at 43.3 per cent.

WORSENED DEPENDENCY

Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui had indicated in earlier reports that the State had started the process of creating job centres across the country where people can visit either physically or digitally to access opportunities that merit their qualification threshold. The process was to be overseen by the authority.

This was part of measures the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection was undertaking after thousands of Kenyans lost jobs during the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the number of people out of active labour force increased by 5.1 per cent or 435,369 people to 8.53 million in the first quarter of this year.

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Yet in the previous quarter, the number of people who were not in the active labour force had reached 8.09 million; meaning that the figure has grown. This, the CS said, worsened the dependency ratio. "The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on economies and jobs in particular. The biggest mistake we can make is to address this pandemic with the same thinking and principles," he said.