By Nicholas Waitathu
The projects being lined up for implementation include promotion of One Village, One Product programme
Kenyans witnessed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inaugural Madaraka Day speech on Saturday that rekindled his earlier promise to make jobless corners extinct when he becomes the Head of State.
Official figures put the number of jobless Kenyans at 16 million. Most of them are the youth, and it is the lack of employment that drives many to crime.
However, Uhuru said the Government is gearing up to start implementing ambitious development projects that would give a major lift to the local labour market.
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He said the projects are designed to create sustainable employment opportunities to the increasing youth population.
President Uhuru confirmed the Government was keen on transforming the structure of the economy to create viable employment opportunities for the surging young population.
He said a number of projects are being lined up for implementation, which include development of integrated steel mills, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) parks, promotion of the One Village, One Product programme and productivity improvement for SMEs.
According to the Economic Survey 2013, the growth of job creation in the economy decelerated to 5.5 per cent compared to 5.8 per cent recorded in 2011. Total employment outside small-scale agriculture and pastoralists activities improved from 12.07 million in 2011 to 12.7 million in 2012.
The informal sector in which most of the SMEs fall produced 591,200 jobs in 2012 compared to 587,200 jobs created in 2011.
Uhuru said the planned initiatives would play a critical role in attaining the Government’s aspirations of creating one million jobs per year for the next five years.
“This is important because the only sure way to fight poverty is to create wealth and the best way to do that is by rapid industrialisation,” he said while addressing the nation.
Uhuru promised to create one million jobs during his first two years in office, during his presidential election campaigns.
During the Madaraka Day speech, he observed that the Government is committed to sparking an industrial revolution that would ensure the country is able to manufacture the necessary tools and equipment.
He said these tools would be useful in driving economic activities as well as carrying out value addition of raw materials and primary commodities.
“By igniting an industrial revolution the country will enhance its capacity to manufacture the necessary tools and equipment for economic activities as well as to carry out value addition of the raw materials and primary commodities,” Uhuru explained.
He said the Government would also continue to strengthen co-operative societies to enable them play the crucial role of mobilising savings, marketing products and value addition to products.
“The mobilisation of savings is particularly key to realisation of Vision 2030 in respect of increasing national savings from the current 17 per cent to 30 per cent of national income,” added the President. Members’ deposits in credit unions, he said, amount to approximately Sh378 billion.