More than Sh200–billion worth of tenders have been lined up this financial year targeting youths, women and the disabled in Kenya, Deputy President William Ruto said.
This represents an increase of Sh136 billion as compared to the 2017/2018 allocation that saw about 58,000 tenders awarded to the youths.
The new amount, Mr Ruto said, called on the youths “to walk your way out and exploit this opportunity.”
He spoke on Monday in Wote, Makueni County, during the National Youth Week where he said that youths need to “get out of bed, put on their boots, tighten their belts and roll up their sleeves for gainful work”.
Leaders present included Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia, Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Mohamed, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Makueni Senator Mutula, nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga, MPs Daniel Maanzo (Makueni), Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Gideon Keter (nominated) and Jesca Mbalu (Kibwezi).
“No opportunity will be brought to your door-step. You must network your way into these opportunities,” said the Deputy President.
He said the government was paying a special focus on the youth because of the latent force in them that would turnaround the country.
Mr Ruto noted that to exploit this potential, the government had come up with a plan that would be in tandem with the desires and aspirations of the youths.
“To unlock the youths’ potential, we must make them competent. That is why we are prioritising their training. From September, all technical colleges, including Kenya Medical Training Colleges, would be provided with bursaries to the tune of Sh30,000 a year,” he said.
Like in universities, he said, students in tertiary institutions would also access a Sh40,000-loan a year.
In addition, beginning next year, university and college students would be able to access internship opportunities, which the Deputy President said would be paid for by the government. At least 120,000 youths are expected to benefit from the new initiative annually.
Mr Ruto cautioned school principals against withholding school certificates for their students, saying that the issue would be treated as a criminal offense.
Governor Kibwana challenged youths to actively take part in the implementation of the government’s Big Four agenda.
“This development plan is big, and you should be at the centre of it. We must get off our minds the narrative that there are no jobs are out there. We have innumerable employment opportunities, we just need to get out of the fear of making our hands dirty,” said Prof Kibwana.
He promised to join the Deputy President in his “hunting mission for a better Kenya”.
While echoing Prof Kibwana’s sentiments, Prof Kobia said youths need to ask themselves hard questions: “Why are some of you succeeding while others are failing? The answer is in the way you take up these opportunities.”
On his part, Mr Kilonzo Junior called on the government to make it easy for the youth groups to access funding for their projects.
He said that impediments, such as the requirement for the clearance from credit reference bureaus, were keep youths away from approaching financial institutions for capital.
“It is important that enough money is allocated to the youths if we are to change their lives. We cannot, for instance, extend a loan of Sh50,000 to a group of 15 youths with an expectation that that would empower them,” said Mr Kilonzo.
Prof Kibwana and Senator Kilonzo praised the Deputy President for his work throughout the country, especially on empowering youths both politically and economically.