NYS Pass out Parade

H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta on 24th April, 2021, presided over the National Youth Service Pass Out Parade and the launch of the National Youth Service Tracking System at Gilgil College. 7,479 servicemen and women graduated today having successfully completed 6 months of paramilitary training.

President Kenyatta congratulated the graduands for their courage, discipline and perseverance as they individually and collectively prepare to undertake their civic responsibility of building and serving their country.

He commended the leadership and management for successfully completing the training programme safely without any case of COVID-19 and in full compliance of applicable measures as per The Ministry of Health and World Health Organization guidelines and protocols.

“As we contend with the third wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic, all Kenyans should look to you and to your institution as an example of how ordinary life can continue safely, responsibly, and in full fidelity with the preventative measures put in place to save lives and secure public health,” he said.

His Excellency noted that NYS has provided young Kenyans the skills and competencies for entrepreneurship and employment; in addition to inculcating the ethos of patriotism, loyalty, integrity, duty, and service to the Nation that has made graduands better citizens.

President Kenyatta urged the graduands not to let anything come between them and the transformative journey they have embarked on.

“To our graduands, as you pass-out today and go out into the world as graduates from this highly respected institution, always remember that you are role models for what the ideal citizen should be and further encourage you to carry yourself with dignity, honour, integrity, and with an unshakeable commitment to serving and bettering Kenya,” he said.

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia thanked the NYS Council and the Management for strengthening effective governance to deliver on the strategic plan while demonstrating good stewardship and accountability.

Prof. Kobia said that the Pass Out Parade was carried out under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic noting that it was a demonstration that public service delivery has not been disrupted during the pandemic.

“The Pass Out Parade today is proof that with discipline and commitment to purpose, Government’s business continuity and service delivery can be achieved,” she said.

During the event, the Head of State also launched the National Youth Service Tracking System, a system that has been developed to enable prospective employers access potential employees from a large pool of NYS graduates. The system will categorize the graduates by skills acquired and county of residence making it easier for employers to source for skilled labour as may be needed within a specific region.

Since its establishment in 1964, a total of 248,440 servicemen and women have gone through NYS with 101,107 having been admitted in the last seven years.

Congratulations to the 2021 graduates. Go on Be great.

By Andrew Ishepai

OECD: Effective Strategies on Financing GEWE Programs

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia yesterday joined partners in a virtual event organized to celebrate International Women’s day. The event, organized by OECD Development Co-operation Directorate was held under the theme ‘From recovery to sustainable development: Where is the money for gender equality and women’s empowerment? ‘.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that works to build better policies for better lives and has 60 years of experience and insights to better prepare the world of tomorrow. Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, they work on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.

The discussions by participants centered on effective strategies on financing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment programs.

The Global Gender Index of 2020 report indicates that gender gap is widest globally in the economic participation and opportunity sub index which stood at only 58 percent. This indicates that economically, women are more vulnerable to economic shocks brought about by crises including COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of the pandemic on women has been significant. It has led to loss of jobs, increase in GBV cases and has eroded the gains made in the fight for gender equality.” Prof. Kobia noted.

She pointed out that Kenya developed a blue-print ‘Building Back Stronger: Transforming the Kenyan Economy Post-COVID-19’, which among other strategies, addresses the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, including targeted women’s economic strategies and cash transfer programming; containment and mitigation measures to address the burden of care work, particularly those that affect women and girls, including supporting them to recover and build resilience for future shocks; and, programs and policies to provide economic relief based on needs and vulnerabilities.

The Cabinet Secretary added that in order to address gender inequalities and create meaningful change, development partners need to scale up their investment support across key sectors and ensure full participation of women in all Post-COVID-19 response and recovery mechanisms. She called on partners to complement government efforts by increasing their focus on social protection and through skills development and widening their market opportunities. She called on them to invest in programmes that seek to end violence against women and increase access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health services.

“The global public health crisis has direct implications on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Kenya stands in solidarity with the rest of the world and will continue to advocate for effective response and recovery for the gendered dimension of COVID 19, leaving no one behind and towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.” She concluded.

Pursue Leadership Positions At All Levels, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Encourages Women

Pursue Leadership Positions At All Levels, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Encourages Women

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has encouraged more women to actively seek elective and other positions of leadership both at national and county levels.

While applauding the current 23 percent representation of women in the National Assembly, the First Lady said more work needed to be done to achieve the constitutionally proposed two-thirds gender rule.

“Let us continue working, together, for the progress we all believe in. And let us begin with ourselves, in our own spaces, in our homes, in our schools and with our children.

“We know that women can bring a difference in leadership by ensuring that the needs and aspirations of women and men, boys and girls are addressed equitably,” the First Lady said as she rooted for enhanced gender equality and women empowerment especially during the COVID-19 era.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta spoke Monday 8th March, 2021 when she presided over virtual celebrations to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) under theme ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.

The First Lady pointed out that the theme of this year’s IWD calls for women leadership, saying it is timely and resonates well with the current global situation.

“It highlights the need for us to demand for a level playing field for women and girls irrespective of race, religion or social background,” she said.

The First Lady emphasized the need for women to lend their voice in combating harmful cultural practices that curtail progress even as she expressed satisfaction that a lot of resources are being channelled towards ensuring equity and justice.

“We also, as women, must continue to raise our voices and protect ourselves against harmful practices such as FGM and early child marriage; these factors impede our pathway to reaching our gifted potential,” the First Lady said.

At the global level, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said the election of the first woman Vice President in the United States of America should serve as an inspiration for women worldwide to aspire for leadership positions.

“Her Excellency Kamala Harris, has done women proud and broken the glass ceiling by going into history books as the 49th Vice President and the first female occupant of the office in the United States,” she said.

During the occasion, the First Lady conferred Annual Trailblazer Awards to several women and institutions in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contribution to advancing the gender equality and women empowerment agenda. She also conferred certificates to graduands of the first cohort of the Women in Political Leadership Training Programme that she launched last year.

Public Service and Gender CS Prof Margaret Kobia said the theme of this year’s IWD illustrates the urgency of putting women empowerment at the core of recovery and bouncing back better in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that while the journey of women in leadership has been long and bumpy, their determination and commitment has yielded fruits.

“Therefore, we celebrate the gains made and also reflect on the social, economic, political and cultural context in which women and girls live and work,” the CS said.

In her address, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland stressed that gender equality and women empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights.

Other speakers included Defence CS Dr Monica Juma, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization Chairperson Rahab Muiu, European Union Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue and UN Resident Co-ordinator Stephen Jackson are among others.

The event also witnessed the national launch of the continental digital platform dubbed ‘the 50 Million African Women Speak’. The project is geared towards empowering millions of women in Africa to start, grow and scale up businesses by providing a one-stop shop.

As published on: The Presidency | The Presidency (president.go.ke)

Ministry Disburses Over Ksh 176 Million to Women and Youth Groups in Nairobi County

Ministry Disburses Over Ksh 176 Million to Women and Youth Groups in Nairobi County

The Ministry of Public Service and Gender through the Affirmative Action Funds namely Uwezo Fund, Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) and Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) today disbursed cheques worth over KES. 176 million to youth and women groups in Nairobi County.

In her address during the handover ceremony held at Charter Hall, in Nairobi, Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh called on the beneficiaries to make proper use of the funds. Hon. Shebesh urged the youth and women who received the funds to be ambassadors and inform other people from the communities they come from to apply for the low interest loans.

“The President remains committed to the empowerment of youth and women and that’s why we are here today rallying behind this important cause” said Hon. Shebesh.

Nairobi Deputy Governor, H.E Anne Kananu and Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Maj. Gen. Mohammed Badi who attended the event echoed the Chief Administrative Secretary’s message and urged the women and youth to take advantage and use of the opportunity provided by the Government to empower themselves.

They committed to work closely with the Affirmative Funds leadership to ensure that youth and women from Nairobi are empowered economically.

Also in attendance was Nairobi Women Representative, Hon. Esther Passaris, Nairobi County Assembly Deputy Speaker Hon. Geoffrey Majiwa, Kibra MP Hon. Imran Okoth, Westlands MP Hon. Tim Wanyonyi, Kamukunji MP Hon. Yusuf Hassan, Roysambu MP Hon. Ndirangu Waihenya and Nairobi County Members of Assembly among other National and County Officials.

By Brian Were

Kuria Professionals urged to take up the role of Ending FGM in the Community

An Association of Professionals from Kuria Community today were challenged to step up and take up the role of Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in their villages by 2022.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh led a Anti-FGM Multi-Agency committee in a meeting with the Kuria Professionals at Kehancha, Migori County this afternoon.

Hon. Shebesh told the professionals that they were respected members of the community and therefore, they had a duty to play in stopping the outlawed practice of FGM in their region.

“We look forward to hearing good news from the Kuria community in regards to building the economy and improving the livelihoods of the citizens. Today, we need to develop a clear road map and strategies on engaging other stakeholders in the end FGM campaign, ” said Hon. Shebesh.

The Chief Administrative Secretary urged the County Governments in the 22 FGM hotspot Counties to provide safe houses for girls in order to protect them from harmful cultural practices.

Anti FGM Board Chairperson, Agnes Pareiyo called on elders to make the right decisions.

“We are bringing elders on board because they are the heads of the family and they are the ones who can end FGM practice in the community,” she said.

Nominated MP, Hon. Dennitah Ghati said the Kuria Community would support H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to End FGM by 2022 fully and would ensure that he leaves behind a legacy of empowered women and girls.

“We are saying no to a harmful culture that violates the rights of women and girls because we shall continue to practice our culture without FGM.

On his part, Migori County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich said that the Government is not going to tolerate any blame game for the perpetrators of FGM as they will face the full force of the law.

“We are going to arrest the parents whose girls have been subjected to the cut. Every parent must be responsible for their children’s safety,” he said.

He challenged the men to declare an end to FGM in the Kuria Community. “We shall have no more FGM if men stand firm and denounce the practice,” he said.

The Association of Professionals includes teachers, health workers, administrators, lawyers, entrepreneurs, youth and students drawn from the Kuria community.

By Nelly Kosgey

Ministry Launches 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Gender Based Violence Recovery Center Guidelines

The Ministry of Public Service and Gender in partnership with development partners and civil society organisations yesterday launched 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Gender Based Violence Recovery Center Guidelines at a colourful virtual event.

This year’s event comes at a time when the world is grappling with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged global economies and has brought with it social, economic, health and psychological effects of unexpected magnitude. Subsequently, cases of GBV against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have escalated around the world.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is a time that is set aside every year to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. This year’s theme is “Orange the World, Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.

The event was presided over by Principal Secretary for the State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda who in her opening remarks noted that there had been a 55% increase in GBV cases between March and June when COVID-19 struck however, the figure had reduced by 41% between July and October largely due to advocacy work.

Prof. Suda pointed out the various initiatives that have been undertaken to deal with GBV including the establishment of gender desks in police stations, establishment of toll-free hotlines such as 1195 as well as advocacy campaigns. “The State Department for Gender in partnership with Healthcare Assistance Kenya operates a 24-hour toll-free helpline that supports survivors of GBV to receive online counseling and referrals for medical and legal services,” she said.

The Principal Secretary said the 16 days of activism this year will focus on the five Ps which are prevention of GBV, protection of the survivors, prosecution of perpetrators and partnership in the implementation of programmes around GBV. “No single Government Ministry, Department, Agency, faith based or civil society organization can address GBV in isolation. Therefore, this calls for multi-sectoral and multi-agency interventions to address health, legal, psycho-social, economic and cultural issues. We must focus on the five Ps that guide our work in this area,” she noted.

The UN Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati affirmed that UN Women is committed to providing technical and financial support for Kenya to deliver on its obligations to prevent and respond to GBV but called on more efforts to go beyond financial funding. “We must put in more effort on mobilising every resource available in the communities as opposed to focussing on financial funding to fight GBV,” she stated.

The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Amb. Simon Mordue, who is also the Co-Chair of the Development Partners Group on Gender pledged more support from the EU during the 16 Days of Activism and beyond.

Another highlight of the event was the launch of the Guidelines for the Establishment of Gender Based Violence Recovery Centers (GBVRCs) in Kenya which were developed to standardise the service quality of the centers across the country. The GBVRCs are provided for in Vision 2030 as underscored in the social pillar that prioritises prevention and response to gender based violence and eradication of FGM.

Important days that will be marked during the 16 Days of Activism are the International Day for Persons with disabilities on the 3rd of December, the International Volunteer Day on the 5th of December and the International Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.

#16Days #OrangeTheWorld

By Catherine Kamau and Jacquiline Kirimi

SUNDAY NATION READERS’ QUESTIONS TO CABINET SECRETARY, PROF MARGARET KOBIA– 13TH SEPTEMBER 2020

SUNDAY NATION READERS’ QUESTIONS TO CABINET SECRETARY, PROF MARGARET KOBIA– 13TH SEPTEMBER 2020

QUESTION: The current accumulated pensions bill is estimated at Sh100 billion annually, and with the pending unprocessed applications and thousands others hitting or nearing retirement age there is a real possibility of aggregate pensions clocking Sh159 billion in next the two years. What is the government’s policy to tame spiraling pensions bill? Could the government consider consolidating all pensions under the Retirements Regulatory Authority? Elly Owiny Kotieno, Kisumu

ANSWER: The pension wage bill has continued to increase over the years and is projected to increase to over Ksh. 100 billion in the current Financial Year 2020/21. To ensure sustainability of the Public Service pension wage bill, the Government is implementing pension reforms including harmonization of pension policies for the Public Service and introduction of a contributory pension scheme for Public Servants. It is already work in progress. The Government has gazetted 1st January 2021 to be the commencement date of the Public Service Superannuation Scheme (PSSS) Act. The employee and employer contribution will be at the rate of 7.5% and 15% of the basic salary respectively. This aims to bring under control the spiraling pension expenditure in the medium and long term and free more resources for Government development projects in other critical sectors of the economy.

The PSSS scheme covers Teachers, Civil Servants and Disciplined Services (Police, Prison officers and NYS) and any other service that the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury determines as ‘public service’ for the purposes of the Act. The PSSS, like other Public Retirement Pension Schemes is under the regulation of the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA).

The Scheme has several benefits to the members: allowing employees to transfer their services to other employers without losing their pension benefits; access to own accumulated contributions and 50% of Government contributions on exiting the service; reduction of tax level as monthly contributions by employees of up to 30% of their basic salary or Ksh. 20,000 whichever is lower will be tax deductible; it ensures involvement of the employees and members in the management of their retirement fund through participation in the Board of Trustees in accordance with the Retirement Benefits Authority. This in essence enhances a sense of ownership and oversight of the management of the fund. The pension reforms are continuing and going forward the vision is to have various pension schemes consolidated to ensure common norms and standards for public servants.

QUESTION: Cabinets traditionally all the over the world are the crème de la crème of policy leadership in the republic. The cabinet is the chief steward of political and economic direction of any country. Distinguished women like you and men of valour and honour join the cabinet out of patriotism and devotion to the cause espoused for the nation by the President. To Cabinets therefore, governments are not sources of income or capital investments where profit springs. From this background can we trust the cabinet that it means well for the country when you are fronting selfish agendas in these difficult times Kenyans are going through? Ann Njoki Njung’e, Limuru

There are principles of governance that inform the conduct of public servants and these are clearly articulated in various Articles of the Constitution. Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity prescribes the conduct of State Officers and Chapter 9 article 153 enumerates Responsibility And Accountability in Cabinet. Chapter 13 Article 232 covers Principles And Values Of Public Service. There are checks in the governance structure to ensure integrity is at the core of conduct of all public officers.

Having said that, let me emphasize that the Cabinet oversights the development agenda of the Government. Currently we are on the Third Medium Plan of Kenya Vision 2030 – the blue-print that guides our development agenda. The current Medium Plan has prioritized manufacturing, food security, affordable health care and affordable housing – the Big Four Agenda. That is the current focus of our development agenda. Naturally, when unforeseen emergencies like the locust invasion, Covid-19 or floods visit, the Government is bound to take emergency mitigation measures to protect its citizens.  

QUESTION: The public service one-year internship programme that was started last year has now prepared its first batch of 3,100 inaugural graduates. What plans do you have to absorb them into public service?  What knowledge and skills have the interns gained from the programme? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

ANSWER: The Public Service internship programme currently covers unemployed Kenyan graduates from recognized training institutions who have completed their degree courses within the last three (3) years and have not been exposed to work experience related to their areas of study. The Programme also covers graduates from degree and diploma programmes for whom internship is a requirement for registration by respective registration bodies.

The aim of the internship program is to impart skills and experience as it exposes the interns to the different functional areas in the Public Service under the close guidance of mentors, coaches and supervisors.

Interns are recruited competitively and deployed to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies according to their skills and qualifications. The internship period is twelve months; or the duration prescribed by the institution or profession in which the intern is seeking registration. The experience gained during internship programme is considered by the Government, and any employer for that matter, as an added advantage while seeking formal employment. Interns will be issued with Internship Certificates on completion of the programme.

The Government maintains a data base of all beneficiaries of the programme and keeps track of their progress. The program is working amazingly well. Already some interns have been absorbed by the organizations they were deployed to after proving their competency. Others applied and were competitively appointed for positions advertised by the Public Service Commission, while others have left to pursue careers in the private sector. For those who will not have found substantive positions at the expiry of the internship period, they will be considered competitively alongside other deserving applicants for any Public Service jobs advertised by the Public Service Commission.

The aim of the internship program is to impart skills and experience as it exposes the interns to the different functional areas in the Public Service under the close guidance of mentors, coaches and supervisors. Feedback from interns is positive  – they have gained varied technical skills including IT skills, interpersonal and communication skills, team-work, public sector work experience, positive attitudes and values, ethics and integrity, critical thinking and problem solving skills, creativity and innovativeness, time management, and etiquette among others.

QUESTION: Truth be told, Kenya has made some impressive strides in gender equality in recent years.  However, the struggle for gender equality is still far from won. With only 20 per cent female MPs, Kenya ranks 76th among the top 100 countries, according to the World Classification of Women in National Parliaments, well behind Rwanda and Uganda, where women occupy 56 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.  What practical steps have you taken to ensure women are involved in every sphere; socio-economic and political? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

ANSWER: In line with our mandate, the Ministry has prioritized women’s economic empowerment through financial inclusion and capacity building of women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses. This is implemented through three affirmative action funds that target women specifically

The Women Enterprise Fund provides accessible and affordable credit and business support services to women entrepreneurs to start or expand business for wealth and employment creation. Second is Uwezo Fund which aims to expand access to finance for the youth, women and persons with disability at the constituency level for businesses and enterprises development. Third is the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) whose objective is to empower vulnerable groups in the society to improve their well-being.

The government has also provided to the marginalized –  Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities – opportunity to do business with Government through the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities Programme.  The affirmative action in procurement has steadily increased opportunities for the marginalized. By April 2019, AGPO statistics indicated that tendering had increased to 45,812 tenders being awarded to Youth (44%), Women (53%) and Persons with Disabilities (3%) owned enterprises. The impact of these funds has been phenomenal.

QUESTION: You recently tabled before the Senate a report on the distribution of senior positions in the National Government across all communities. The findings were not surprising as this has been the trend since independence and all successive governments will take blame for total lack of inclusivity in Kenya where some communities are superior than others in the sharing of national cake. What have you proposed as a way forward in this matter? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

Chapter Four Article 43 of our Constitution on economic and social rights enshrines fair treatment to all Kenyans. Recruitment in the Public Service is awake to this provision and is undertaken on the basis of fair competition and merit; representation of Kenya’s diverse communities; adequate and equal opportunities to all gender, youth, members of all ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and minorities. Progressively, the provisions of the Constitution will ensure fair inclusivity.

QUESTION: Unlike at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) where the year of graduation is given weight the public service jobs do not give such consideration in job recruitment. In public service those who graduated recently are absorbed leaving out earlier graduates. I think this is unfair. What is your take? James Njoroge Kimani, Subukia

There are guidelines that guide recruitment protocols in every organization. In the Public Service the factor of year of completion of candidates is considered alongside other factors stipulated in the Constitution and relevant legislation. In accordance with the Constitution, the Public Service Commission is mandated to establish and abolish offices in the Public Service, appoint persons to hold or act in those offices and confirm them in appointments. Recruitment in the Public Service is undertaken on the basis of fair competition and merit; representation of Kenya’s diverse communities; adequate and equal opportunities to all gender, youth, members of all ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and minorities.

QUESTION: Given the higher retirement age for judges and professors at public universities, why is the same not extended to some cadres in the mainstream civil service? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi

ANSWER: Different occupations have varied physical, mental and emotional demands on the job holders and thereby necessitating setting of varying retirement ages. There are management considerations as well. Some job descriptions are extremely specialized and require extensive training and experience that the public service is keen to use to the full benefit of the country. Such personnel may be requested to continue serving for longer than usual. Enhancing the mandatory retirement age may increase individual pension benefits and reduce the pension expenditure in the short term. However, in the long run, it will pose challenges to the sustainability of the pension wage bill. Increasing the mandatory retirement age would also pose succession management challenges in the Public Service.

(Mandatory Retirement Age for Civil Servants is currently set at 60 years; Retirement age for Judges 70 years; Researchers/Scientists 65)

QUESTION: With the introduction of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) positions, what is the ranking order in Ministries? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi

 ANSWER: The Cabinet Secretaries are responsible for strategic policy formulation and direction in the assigned Ministries. The Chief Administrative Secretaries are responsible for supporting Cabinet Secretaries to better coordinate the running of the affairs of their respective Ministries/Departments.

QUESTION: On several occasions, a bill to entrench the two-thirds gender requirement has been brought to parliament and defeated. In your view, what has been manifestly wrong with the bills that have been defeated in parliament? Are we aiming at the sun when our arrow can hardly go past the stars? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

ANSWER: The not more than two thirds provision of the Constitution has contributed to a steady rise of women occupying various decision making positions. There are more women in Parliament and County Assemblies. For example, following the 2017 General Elections, women accounted for 33%. From the year 2009, women ministers were only 3 out of 20 compared to 7 women cabinet secretaries out of 21 cabinet secretaries in year 2020 translating to 33%. There has been remarkable progress within the Judiciary where women comprise 28.6% in Supreme Court; 36.8% in Court of Appeal; 48.8% in the High Court; and 53.5% of Magistrates. Also significant is that women are occupying strategic dockets given that for the first time in Kenya’s history we have the first female Auditor General while the positions of Budget Comptroller, Commission for Revenue Allocation and the Salaries and Revenue Commission are headed by Women. Within Parliament, Women are also heading important portfolios such as the National Assembly Finance Committee among others.

Whereas we have not achieved the desired number of women in Parliament, we should continue to work towards the realization of the not more than two thirds gender rule which has not been fully actualized 10 years into our Constitution. This will be significant progress reflecting the true face of Kenya given that today, women comprise 50.5% of the national population.

QUESTION: Last year your Ministry and that of the Treasury launched a Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) on the processing and payments of retired officers. My file was forwarded to the treasury on October 3, 2019, to date I have not been paid. I do regularly enquire and the response I get is that either the file is at audit level 1 or at the directorate. What could be the issue? Kaburu J. Mbogori

ANSWER: The Ministry of Public Service and Gender in consultation with the Treasury and the Public Service Commission launched a Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) to fast track the processing and payment of pensions of retired officers. The initiative has yielded results and managed to clear pending cases. The Government is working on a robust ICT System in processing of pensions to ensure all pension claims are paid promptly. The delay in processing may be due to the manual nature of the process.

Mr Kaburu J. Mbogori’s case, among others, has been processed and is ready for payment.

QUESTION: Just a fortnight ago, we marked a decade since the promulgation of the constitution, a social contract which has been hailed because of the Bill of Rights which has wide-ranging entitlements to citizens. The Public Service is expected to be the dispensing point of these entitlements. However, numerous surveys have continued to portray a public service which holds tax-payers in contempt through corruption, delays, absenteeism, arrogance or all sorts of discrimination. Madam, what is your take on this observation and what legacy would you wish to leave in your ministry? Komen Moris, Eldoret

ANSWER: The Public Service in Kenya has served the country well, providing all the human resource needed for socio-economic development since independence. Indeed, Kenya Public Service is a successful global winner in innovative service delivery and provides benchmarks for best practice for governments in this region, including Southern African countries.

Despite these successes, the Service being a bureaucratic system, has over the years experienced difficulties in service delivery especially due to long processes and the manual nature of the same. Recognizing this, the Government in 2003 embarked on key reforms and introduced Results Based Management in the Service. These reforms aimed at transforming the service and making it citizen-centric, responsive, efficient and effective.  The reforms have continued over the years and ongoing reforms include Performance Management system; Strengthening of the Service through succession management, staff redistribution, rationalization of staff establishment, entry level recruitment, and promotion of competent and qualified staff. We are currently developing a masterplan on rare and critical skills in the Public Service and introducing uniform norms and standards to ensure consistency and harmony across the Public Service. Internally, we are enhancing staff welfare through provision of Civil Servants Medical Scheme, Introduction of a Group Life Policy, Contributory Pension to enhance retirement benefits.

To make the public services more accessible to citizens, the Government has instituted service digitization across the functional areas in the Public Service. Of note, is the establishment of the Huduma Kenya Programme. This is a One Stop Shop for highly sort public services. Currently, Huduma has on boarded about One Hundred and twelve (112) services in all the fifty two (52) Huduma Centres across the Republic.

Further, there are checks and balances that provide citizens avenues for recourse when they receive poor services among them, Commission on Administrative Justice, Customer Service Desks in Ministries, Departments and Agencies and various hotlines for complaint handling.

In terms of dealing with corruption, major reforms have been instituted, especially ensuring that there are Institutional Mechanisms to handle cases of corrupt public servants. 

QUESTION: A majority of our youth and women are in the informal employment sector which has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them own and operate SMEs which require direct financial support to recover from the COVID-19 shocks. We have seen some international lenders like IFC providing millions of dollars to financial institutions to lend to these SMEs. Unfortunately, Kenya’s banking sector still requires collateral in the form of title deeds to advance credit, yet our youth and women do not have such collateral. What is your Ministry doing to ensure that the youth and women in this country are not discriminated by these financial institutions when seeking post COVID-19 recovery support, specifically, from the IFC multi-million-dollar loan? Elisha N Oduor, Nairobi

ANSWER: Kenya is working on a comprehensive strategy to boost recovery of women and youth led businesses that have suffered disruptions linked to COVID-19 pandemic.  The Government has developed an inventory of female and youth owned enterprises that have suffered due to the pandemic, to facilitate their bailout.

The women and youth led businesses will benefit from a stimulus package launched by the Government in April to bailout local start-ups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being done through Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAS) within the Ministry, namely; Women Enterprise Fund, UWEZO Fund and National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF)

The Affirmative Action beneficiary groups have been encouraged to renegotiate the loan repayment terms with their respective Funds. The Ministry has also been encouraging groups to market their products online and has partnered with e-mobile to train groups on google to market their products and services.

Through Uwezo Fund over Ksh. 200 million loan funds have been dispersed to constituencies for loaning to groups. The Fund has further reviewed on the 50% repayment threshold on loaning to groups to allow constituencies issue loans.

Through WEF, existing borrowers are encouraged to apply for additional funding. Turnaround time in loan application process has also been reduced and repayment is by MPESA pay bill. The fund is addressing distressed borrowers on a case by case basis and implementing loan restructuring (moratorium and rescheduling loans for borrowers in distress).

From the beginning of this Financial Year the National Government Affirmative Action Fund has disbursed over Kshs. 1 billion to affirmative action groups for socio-economic empowerment projects and programmes in the counties.

The Government is also working on a bailout strategy with financial institutions such as IFC to restore the SMEs to profitability. Youth and women owned enterprises will benefit from LPO financing from commercial banks that have received credit from IFC.  The Government will also engage the financial institutions to see ways of relaxing the issue of collaterals to youth, women and PLWDs owned enterprises.

Upon the occurrence of COVID-19, His Excellency the President provided leadership in responding to the challenges facing the economy and in preparation for post pandemic recovery.

To cushion small businesses where majority of youth and women thrive, the President put in place fiscal measures to cushion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through reduction of the turnover tax rate from 3% to 1 % for all MSMEs.

As part of the 8-Point Economic Stimulus Programme, the Government has also allocated Ksh. 10 billion to fast track payment of outstanding VAT refunds and other pending payments. Further, to cushion MSMEs from the economic impact of COVID – 19, the Government provided Ksh. 3 billion as seed capital for Credit Guarantee aimed at providing them with affordable credit.

CAS, Hon. Shebesh calls for support of Widows

CAS, Hon. Shebesh calls for support of Widows

Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh on Thursday 20th presided over the handing over of food and non food donations to widows under the Come Together Widows and Orphan Organization (CTWOO) to cushion them during the Covid-19 global pandemic period.

In her address at the National Youth Service (NYS) headquarters, Nairobi, Hon. Shebesh called upon women in leadership positions and other well wishers to support and empower widows who often face a myriad of challenges.

The Chief Administrative Secretary also said that Government should support widows in acquiring and payment of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

Hon Shebesh called on the widows to form groups and apply for Affirmative Action Funds namely Uwezo, Women Enterprise Fund and Youth Enterprise Development Fund for their economic empowerment.

The Founder of Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization, Dianah Kamande, noted that there has been an increase in the number of widows during Covid-19 Pandemic and majority of the widows have lost their sources of income owing to the measure put in place to contain the spread of Corona Virus.

She requested the government to protect widows especially those whose husbands have died as result of Covid-19 pandemic.

Donations handed over from UNFPA, KEPSA, NYS, NGAAF, UWEZO, Manu Chandaria Foundation and Crawn Trust included sanitizers, masks, buckets, bar soaps, cooking fat, rice, beans and lessos among others.

Accompanying Hon. Shebesh were Deputy Governor Kiambu County, H.E Joyce Ngugi, CEO UWEZO Fund, Peter Lengapiani, NGAAF CEO, Titus Lotee, Director NYS, Matilda Sakwa, Gladys Mugambi from Ministry of Health, Gloria Ndekei from KEPSA and Daisy Amdany from Crawn Trust.

PS Kimonye Inspects Huduma Centres in Kajiado County

PS Kimonye Inspects Huduma Centres in Kajiado County

Principal Secretary for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye on Wednesday 19th visited Kajiado Central and Kajiado West Huduma Centres to inspect the measures that have been put in place to ensure the safety of citizens and staff as services resume in all centres across the country.

The Principal Secretary said fumigation of Huduma Centres is being carried out on need basis which included Huduma Centres in Nairobi area where they handle large number of clients per day and few reported cases of Covid-19.

“We have now introduced a special ‘service by appointment’ that will allow clients to book for appointment and this will minimize exposure at the Huduma Centre. It will improve safety of our staff and clients as we tackle COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mrs. Kimonye.

She said the re-organization of GPO Huduma Centre was necessary to ensure adherence to the Ministry of Health guidelines due to heavy traffic being handled on daily basis.

However, she pointed out that there are over 180,000 uncollected Identity Cards and 60,000 Birth Certificates in the Huduma Centres across the country and members of the public need to collect their important documents.

Mrs. Kimonye noted that plans were underway to partner with the local administrators to mobilize distribution of the IDs and Birth Certificates to reach the respective owners without compromising on the safety.

National Oil CEO, Mr. Leparan Ole Morintat hand over donations of 1000 bottles of sanitizers and 2000 surgical face masks to be used in Huduma Centres.

While on her inspection tour she received donations of 1000 bottles of sanitizers and 2000 surgical face masks from the National Oil Corporation of Kenya through the National Oil CEO, Mr. Leparan Ole Morintat.

She was joined by Huduma Kenya Secretariat CEO, Mr. James Buyekane, Kajiado County Commissioner, Mr. Joshua Nkanatha and Kajiado West Member of Parliament Hon. George Sunkuiya among other Government Officials.

CAS, HON. SHEBESH CONDEMNS FMG PRACTICE ON INFANTS IN TAITA TAVETA

CAS, HON. SHEBESH CONDEMNS FMG PRACTICE ON INFANTS IN TAITA TAVETA

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh has condemned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice being undertaken in Taita Taveta County especially on infants as young as a day old baby.

In her address to the local administration officers in Taveta County on Tuesday 14th, Hon. Shebesh affirmed that the Law is clear and has punitive obligations on such gross practice on children and called on the administrators and stakeholders to ensure that the perpetrators of FGM are brought to book.

Taita Taveta County has an FGM prevalence rate of 22% among the 22 Hotspot counties where the vice is being practiced. Worrying has been the trend on the acts aforementioned.

“We can’t have our innocent baby girls subjected to FGM, it’s not worth discussing, the recourse is, we must arrest and prosecute the perpetrators and safe guard our girls,” said Hon. Shebesh.

Meanwhile, she directed the Anti FGM Board to come up with amendments to the law so as to include sections that will address FGM being practiced on infants. Coming to further offer support towards the drafting of a County Bill that further enhances the ANTI-FGM.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh hand over copies of the National Policy for Eradication of FGM to stakeholders in Taita Taveta County.

The CAS wound up her working itinerary by presenting Affirmative Fund Cheques from Women Enterprise Fund and Uwezo Fund worth over Ksh 20 Million to various groups in Taita Taveta County before visiting Wundanyi Huduma Centre to assess its level of service delivery where she presented Certificates of recognition to staff members who have been on duty since Covid-19 first case was announced by the Government.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh presenting Affirmative Fund Cheques from Women Enterprise Fund worth worth Ksh. 7.2 million to 31 women groups in Taita Taveta County.

The CAS was accompanied by Anti-FGM board Chairperson, Agnes Pareiyo, UNFPA Country Representative Mr. Ademola Olajide, Taita Taveta Women Representative Hon. Lydia Haita and Taita DCC, Mr. David Kiprop.


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