Kenya’s Economy: State of Unemployment

By Juma / Published July 12, 2016 | 7:54 am



unemployment

One of the major problem that is facing Kenya’s population today is that of unemployment. Majority of the youth, despite the fact that they have what it takes in terms of education, cannot get themselves employed due to the limited chances available. Institutions of higher learning in the country are releasing graduates to the job market every passing year but the job market is not receiving a sizable percentage of those graduates.

Politicians have often used the issue of unemployment to promise heaven and manna once elected into public offices. The government of President Mwai Kibaki promised to help the youth of this country get employed and better their lives. Once the government took over office, everything was forgotten. The government of President Uhuru Kenyatta promised that it would create more 100,000 jobs for the youths of this country but instead of creating jobs, people have been losing jobs.

Many companies that have been in operation for ages are now struggling to remain afloat. Kenya Airways used to be the Pride of Africa. The airline used to scale the skies of the world, connecting Africa to the world and the world to Africa but now, the once giant airline is wobbling. Uchumi Supermarket, the once largest retailer in Kenya and in East Africa is now dead only that the mourners have refused to bury it. The once vibrant retailer has already closed her outlets in Uganda and Tanzania and most of the branches in Kenya too.

Read: Employers Share What Makes an Ideal Employee: Unspoken Mantra of Employment

Kenya Meat Commission was one an envy of its peers in Africa. The firm used to process and export meat around the world as well as selling it locally. Cattle farmers used to be proud of Kenya Meat Commission. Pastoralists from the semi-arid zones of the country had little to worry. Kenya Meat Commission always came to their rescue whenever the drought hit them. But now, the firm is struggling. A day ago, KMC sent home 119 workers as one of its measures to cut costs so as to remain afloat. This comes after 165 others were laid off in the month of May. Workers say they have been going even for months without any single salary. What brought KMC its knees?

Uchumi Supermarket the once one stop shopping outlet that used to rock the Kenyan market and without is now dead and gone. It is now one of the firms operating on negative capital at the Nairobi Security Exchange, NSE. Early this year, the retailer closed five of the branches in Kenya and sent 253 workers home. This came few months after it closed down its outlets in Tanzania and Uganda laying off some more workers. The retailer can barely afford rent.

Kenya Airways, the once Pride of Africa is in its last kicks, in the economic Intensive Care Unit, dying. Woes at the airline started when the airline registered one of the largest losses in history of 27 billion shillings. It is currently operating at negative capital at the NSE. The airline has laid off 600 workers in its cost cutting operations and word has it that more than 800 workers may be sent home. What happened at Kenya Airways? Who brought it down? Has anyone been brought to book for the tribulations that the airline is going through at the moment?

When Webuye Pan Paper Mills went under receivership, many people were affected. The once lively Webuye town went into a slumber all over a sudden and then looked like a town lying in ruin. Around 1500 people who directly depended on the mill for livelihood were made jobless. Although the factory has been sold to Rai Group, it is not clearly known whether these people will be rehired once again.

Read: E-commerce As a Way to Diminish Unemployment Rate in Kenya

When Imperial Bank Kenya went under receivership, 50 workers lost their jobs on the spot. The bank is now dead and hopes of coming back have diminished. The bank was among the three bank that went under receivership within a span of a year with others being Chase Bank and Dubai Bank. Chase Bank came back to the market after three weeks and is now strong and operational.

Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma County has announced that it is sending home 500 workers as it struggles to remain afloat. Nzoia Sugar Company has been having some financial problems with farmers going for years without receiving their pay for sugarcane delivery. Another sugar factory that is struggling is Mumias Sugar Company. The factory has suspended its operation due to ‘sugarcane poaching’ and though the government promised to bring it back to its feet, the company still ails.

Eveready, the once largest and oldest energizer in the country closed down some of its operations. The company sent home 100 workers as it closed down the operations. Bamburi on the other hand sent home 71 workers last year as part of its cost cutting measures. Nation Media Group closed down Nation FM, QFM and Rwanda’s KFM stations and unknown number of workers are going to lose their jobs.

Last year, the government of Kenya announced plans of retrenching more than 40,000 Civil Servants in order to cut on its costs. These are just but a few. Thousands of jobs are being lost. Families are being affected. Imagine 1500 people being rendered jobless, how many families are affected? How about the economy? How is the economy being affected? Is Kenya headed to the right direction?

The table below shows a summery of how jobs are being lost in Kenya:

TABLE


Off the Cuff

Every electioneering period, politicians make promises to Kenyans. They promise them heaven and in real sense deliver them to hell. The issue of joblessness in Kenya has not, cannot and will not be solved by politicians. It is all about policies. Finding out what the problem is and where the rain started hitting us. Only then shall Kenya start moving in the right direction. The major problems is we are ever thinking of protective measures without even knowing what the danger is. Remember, if you are always thinking of safety measures without first knowing what the danger is, you are indeed in danger. Kenya is not moving in the right direction and something needs to be done.

 




About Juma

Juma is an enthusiastic journalist who believes that journalism has power to change the world either negatively or positively depending on how one uses it.(020) 528 0222 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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