Tenders worth more than Sh200 billion have been lined up this financial year for youths, women and the disabled, Deputy President William Ruto has announced.
This figure is Sh136 billion higher than that of the 2017/18 year, when about 58,000 tenders were awarded to youths.
Speaking in Wote, Makueni county, on Monday, the DP said the higher allocation means these groups of Kenyans must “get out of bed, put on their boots, tighten their belts and roll up their sleeves for gainful work”.
“No opportunity will be brought to your door step. You must network your way into these opportunities,” he added in his address during National Youth Week.
Ruto said that focus is on young people because their latent force can turn Kenya around.
To exploit this potential, he said, the government has come up with a plan in tandem with their desires and aspirations.
“To unlock their potential, we must make them competent. That is why we are prioritising their training. From September, all technical colleges, including Kenya Medical Training Colleges, will be provided with bursaries to the tune of Sh30,000 a year,” he said.
Ruto added that students in tertiary institutions will have access to Sh40,000 in loans a year, like their counterparts in universities.
Beginning next year, he also said, university and college students will get internship opportunities which will be paid for by the government. At least 120,000 youths are expected to benefit from the new initiative annually.
The DP also cautioned school principals against withholding the school certificates of their students, saying this will amount to a crime.
He was with leaders including Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia, Sports’ Rashid Mohamed, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, Nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga and MPs Daniel Maanzo (Makueni), Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Gideon Keter (nominated) and Jesca Mbalu (Kibwezi).
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 our minds off the narrative that there are no jobs out there. We have innumerable employment opportunities. We just need to get out of the fear of getting our hands dirty,” he said and promised to join the DP on his mission for a better Kenya.
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,” she said.
The Senator asked the government to make it easy for youths to get money for projects.
He said impediments such as the requirement for clearance from credit reference bureaus keep them from approaching financial institutions for capital.
“It is important that enough money is allocated to 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 the expectation that this will empower them,” he said.