OGI Kenya

Youth

Policy Brief Inequality thrive where policies fail

In summary, this brief presents a review of job creation policy intervention in Kenya. It reviews policies formulated and implemented by the government of Kenya to address unemployment over the past half a century since 1963, with a focus on the assessment of efficiency and effectiveness of adopted interventions to create new, quality and sustainable jobs to meet highly growing and skilled young labor force.

Over the past half a century, the government of Kenya adopted several policies segmented into three typologies according to Omollo (2012). These were: a) Kenyanization and tripartite agreements (1963-1979); b) active labor market policies (1980-1989) and; c) macroeconomic management (1990-2011). In the post-2011 period, the government shifted focus to the creation of jobs through public works programs such as Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV – jobs for youth), National Youth Service (NYS) as well as most recent efforts to strengthen the informal sector through structural, legal and legislative reforms towards ease of doing business.

Reorganization, replacement of non-locals in the job market and enhanced linkages between supply and demand sides of the labor market are notable achievements during this period, with insignificant effects on the creation of new, quality and sustainable jobs. Most jobs created were low paying and temporary labor-based employment.

Corruption, policy inefficiencies and inadequate civic engagement of beneficiaries in the formulation, execution and, evaluation of policy interventions are fundamental factors that undermine job creation.  Also noted is a weak learning framework as well as limited involvement of young people. As a result of notable inadequacies of these policies, young people, especially those in rural areas, low-income families and minority communities remain highly marginalized in the job market especially in regards to access to formal and quality jobs.

There is a critical need to better align policy and budgetary interventions to the needs of the target beneficiaries. This requires that the process in which budget and policy priorities are designed must be open, transparent and sufficiently participatory to accommodate the voices of young people. Interventions must also be regularly evaluated to assess the impact and learnings from implementation. Read more >>>

Nandi Youths Memorandum to the County Assembly Timely & Vital

26th May 2022, Kapsabet Kenya: The Public Finance Management (PFM) Act 2012 provides mechanisms through which County Governments should engage citizens to share what their needs and priorities are when preparing budget documents. This consultation creates a sense of ownership of the projects and services the government delivers to mwananchi. Initially, free, fair, competitive and regular elections were meant to ensure representation of people at the decision-making table, but in today’s Kenya elections despite being free and fair, the representatives elected do not fully represent the needs of the people because of little consultations and unclear manifestos which would otherwise mean the people electing them subscribe to what is highlighted in the manifestos. This is why meaningful and genuine public participation is vital today.

Public participation ensures that county government, civil society, youths, the private sector and the common mwananchi together have a rapport on the local priorities, resources-situation and programs. Their participation ensures there is openness, transparency and accountability in governance and inclusivity in decision making. No man is an island, and money and resources belong to the people. Citizens must be consulted on how these limited resources should be used and youths being the majority in this country and Nandi County as well, must be at the table where these decisions are made.

Open Governance Institute has for many years lobbied for meaningful and genuine public participation decentralized to the lowest level which is wards and villages. We are pleased with the decision by the young people of Nandi and especially the over 120 budget champions who are analyzing the budget, asking latent questions in regards to allocations that matter to them and seeking the county Assembly’s intervention through the memorandum. We have offered them technical support and we will continue to do so in our quest for open governance and also ensure they achieve their aspirations.

While supporting the budget champions to analyze the Nandi County budget estimates for FY 2022/23, the analysis queried six red flags such as inadequate absorption of development budget to the recurrent vote where over the four-year period beginning 2017/18, the county had a budget of Kshs. 32 billion out of which 64% went to recurrent and 36% to development vote absorbing 93% of the allocation to the recurrent vote and only 50% of the development vote. The other query was on unsubstantiated budget changes in salary and operations and maintenance where the cost of Personnel Emoluments (PE) or Salaries increased by 66%, and then, in 2017/18, the County Government spent Ksh. 1.7 billion on O&M then later in 2020/2021 the same O&M allocation was reduced by about a half a billion to Ksh. 1.2 billion.

These and more budget credibility issues that are captured in the memorandum submitted by Budget Champions on 26th May 2022 to the County Assembly give us more reasons why public participation is important for all and especially the youths who are languishing in poverty with no stable sources of income. Some of these unutilized funds could be used to create Youth Agricultural and Business Enterprise Fund for youths as they have indicated in the memo where they can borrow these funds to rear chicken or do other agribusiness activities and then pay later when they sell their products.

In conclusion, in Article 1(2) of the Constitution of Kenya, young people are empowered to exercise their sovereign power directly through public participation and platforms that promote self-governance. Further, the County Governments under section 34 of the County Government Act 2012 are obligated to enhance self-governance for communities in the management of development programs and to ensure the protection and promotion of the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized communities. It is therefore our call to all of us to support these young people of Nandi in seeking their rightful involvement in budgets. The County Assembly of Nandi should consider their submissions and revise the Budget Estimates in their favor.

Nicodemus Muriuki | OGI Communication Specialist