The unemployment problem that won’t go away

Many Kenyans who are employed by the government and private companies have reason to be worried about the security of their jobs.

This is based on the latest trend where companies are closing and some are resorting to retrenching staff in order to survive the harsh working environment.

In the last three years, many companies have closed, while others have moved their businesses to neighbouring countries which they say have favourable policies.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, in July this year, promised to cut the cost of energy for manufacturers.

During the launch of Bidco Industrial Park, Uhuru said that his government was in the process of rolling out a 30 per cent electricity cost reduction.

He further announced that special requests for further cutbacks were to be extended to the textile and steel mill sub-sectors before the year ends.

The government has frequently engaged with the private sector in a bid to create more job opportunities for the ever-growing demand for jobs, more so from the graduands.

Little has come out from the government’s effort as more youths remain jobless, opting to create their own employment using their talents and skills.

In September 2018, the government launched ‘Ajira Digital Club’, which was tipped as a premier online platform that would unlock thousands of jobs for the youth.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani launched another agency in May – the National Employment Authority – which was to open employment opportunities to all Kenyans.

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During this year’s Labour Day Celebrations, Yatani said that the government was planning to create one million jobs in a year, which he said would raise the GDP contribution from 8.5% to 15%.

While seeking his second term in 2017, Uhuru outlined programmes for youth employment.

State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said in July that the government jointly created more than 840,000 new jobs.

She had earlier alleged that the jobs had been created by the government alone, before clarifying later that both informal and formal sectors, including SMEs, contributed to it.

Despite the efforts to create more jobs, more and more Kenyans are losing their jobs daily.

An economic survey released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics for the year 2018 indicated that 83.6 per cent of the new jobs were created in the informal sector and 16.4 per cent in the formal sector.

The survey noted that there was a drop from the 2017 survey where 897,000 jobs were created. In 2016, 832,900 new jobs were created.

The latest companies to exit the Kenya market include SportPesa and Betin.

SportPesa announced last week that it was shutting down its operations in Kenya because of ‘hostile regulations’ from the government.

The firm said it would resume operations when Kenya puts in place “adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment.”

The announcement came after the second-largest betting firm, Betin, announced that it was declaring its staff redundant.

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri defended the company’s decision to lay off 400 of their staff, saying it could not support them anymore.

“We’ve been keeping our employees for three months with no revenue so we had to do what we had to do. With the new taxation rules, the business has become tricky,” Karauri said on Thursday while speaking to Kiss FM.

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