When the Jubilee brigade was campaigning so hard to get to power, they promised among other things to create at least 1.3 million jobs for Kenyans each year.
Creating 1.3 million jobs without a clear plan was the biggest joke Kenyans have ever been told, but as it is the norm, Kenyans took it seriously and voted them in.
The truth is, ever since the Jubilee government was voted in, things have been moving from worse to worst, especially in the employment force.
The economy is ailing. Everyone on the ground can feel apart from those in government. If someone told you that Kenya’s economy expanded by 6.3 percent in the year 2018 compared to 4.9 percent in the year 2017, would you believe them? In fact, the first question you are likely to ask them would be how? When? Where?
Well, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have expanded by 6.3 percent in 2018 compared to 4.9 percent in 2017 but the thing is, the growth can only be seen on paper and not on the ground.
The SME sector is a very important sector in this country. In fact, it is the backbone of the economy. One would have hoped that the Jubilee government would give the sector priority in making it easy for SMEs to do their businesses.
The Jubilee government doesn’t seem to realize that the SME sector in Kenya employs more than 86 percent of Kenyans and contributes at least 45 percent to Kenya’s GDP. Instead of the sector being supported, it is the most hit and on the verge of collapsing.
Stats show that close to 400,000 SMEs die annually in Kenya with at least 2.2 million of them have closed down in the last 5 years. This means that on every single day, at least 1000 SMEs are closing shop in Kenya.
The government has made it difficult for SMEs by imposing numerous taxes on them, choking them with no access to credit and making the business environment just so hard for them. But if you asked President Uhuru Kenyatta about it, he will, without any fear of contradiction say that the “success or the failure of a business should not depend on the government in power.”
A country cannot purport to be creating jobs to its people without considering improving various economic sectors, including the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector in this country is on its deathbed. Despite the fact that it is part of the Big Four Agenda by President Uhuru Kenya, the sector is ailing and thousands of people are losing jobs.
Figures were released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics about the unemployment state in Kenya. The figures released were filled with ironies, inconsistencies and its defense can only exist in fictional books.
According to the stats, the government created a total of 840,000 jobs in 2018 alone. These are a lot of jobs. Right? Without wasting time, State House has been taking credit for creating the jobs. When taken to task to show evidence of the jobs created, the government becomes defensive and asks us to find out from the private sector.
At one point, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said that the government did not create the jobs. A few days later, she changed tune and said that indeed, the government created 840,000 jobs with the majority of them found in the private sector. Where are the jobs? You ask them. Answer? Silence.
Unemployment in Kenya just got worse. We should forget the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) that almost a million jobs were created in 2018.
What the government is not telling Kenyans is that the unemployment rate just hit 43.5 percent, the highest in East Africa with 1 in every 40 Kenyans being without a job.
The employment absorption rate in the so-called white-collar sector is less than 3 percent with the government insisting on increasing the retirement age of those already nearing the retirement age.
The government said it is not planning to hire anyone this financial year. In fact, they are considering laying off some and having those who will remain on a 3-year renewable contract.
Kenya’s unemployment rate is still ahead of Tanzania’s which stands at 24 percent while that of Ethiopia is at 21.9 percent. The unemployment rate in Uganda is at 18.1 percent. The 43.5 percent unemployment rate figure remains ‘top secret.’ Only the National Employment Authority seems to be aware of the figure but cannot talk about it.
Figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), however, give numbers on unemployment that are much lower than the reality. According to them, the unemployment rate by the end of 2017 was at 11.50 percent and only reached an all-time high of 12.20 percent in 2009.
At one point, in their Labor Force Basic Report of 2015/2016, KNBS indicated that the unemployment rate in Kenya had dropped to 7.4 percent. According to the agency, only 1,435,800 Kenyans were unemployed then.
Back to the critical question; did the government create 840,000 jobs? Where are the jobs?