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OPINION: Employ more youths and watch the gap between rich and poor lessen

By LIZZY OGOT | June 17th 2020

According to the data released by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 38.9% of young Kenyans are jobless and this further widens the gap between the rich and the poor.

A lot of money is spent on education only for the graduates to join the dreaded search for jobs, well known to many as ‘tarmacking’. This situation has been exacerbated by a shrinking economy, political instability and pervasive income inequality, especially now during a time of crisis.

In this year’s budget, Sh10billion has been allocated for youth empowerment and creation of employment for young people under the Kazi Mtaani programme in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu Nakuru Eldoret and several other towns around the country.

Kenya Vision 2030 states that 2.5% of the budget should be prioritised for enterprise development but corruption scandals are still underway and those meant to benefit from these funds end up suffering more.

The scourge of corruption in Kenya must be urgently addressed otherwise it could bring the economy to its knees. As per now, the country is already struggling to pay its debts.

Why is the unemployment gap widening each day among the youth? In the second economic stimulus package, the President noted that the government is set to hire or recruit unemployed youths to help the country recover economically. Let’s all wait and see how this goes.

Many young people undergo a lot of frustrations when looking for jobs, especially graduates. With their road to finding employment marked by con games, exploitation, and in their desperation, they must clutch at anything that comes their way.

As the number of graduates leaving higher institutions of learning to join the country’s labour force increases, it is now clear that the days university graduates will be assured a job immediately after graduating by virtue of their academic papers are long gone. What is the result of this? Increased poverty.

You know this game of musical chairs, not everyone gets a chance to sit down once the music stops. Think of this game as representing the job market, the chairs represent the jobs and the players are the job seekers.

Similarly, in the job market, others lose while others win. With joblessness comes loss of income and many families are left without enough income to meet their living expenses. These increased levels of unemployment increase chances of poverty in the future and the burden to work is more heavily placed on future generations.

Now is the time to stop wondering whether farming is a viable career choice. This crisis provides you with the opportunity to put that fallow plot back in your rural home to good use and do some farming.

Food security and agriculture are among the sectors that have been affected by the pandemic and they are winners in this year’s budget with an allocation of Sh4.9 billion mainly to subsidise the supply of farm inputs through the e-voucher system to more than 200,000 small scale farmers. Think about it.

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