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.

PS, Kimonye announces Resumption of Services in all Huduma Centres

PS, Kimonye announces Resumption of Services in all Huduma Centres

Following H.E the President’s directive on ease of movement restrictions, State Department for Public Service Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye on Friday 10th July called on all public servants to resume official duty with strict observance of the Ministry of Health guidelines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Kimonye visited Laikipia and Meru Huduma Centres to take stock of the safety measures in place as part of the phased approach and the preparedness of the centres for resumption of normal services and officially announced resumption of all services at all our Huduma Centres countrywide.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya, the Government scaled-down services in all the centres from 112 services to 2 services: collection of ID’s and Birth certificates, as part of the Government’s Strategy in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus.

However, the centers have continued to serve customers online via the Huduma contact center and social media channels and rolled out at least 25 end-to-end services online in a bid to ensure that wananchi can access services virtually during the Covid-19 period.

To allow for continuation of critical services and highly sought-after services by the citizens, Huduma centres have resumed: Application of Duplicate ID, Application of Birth Certificates, Police Abstract services, NHIF Services, Police Clearance Certificate (Certificate of Good Conduct), KRA Services and NTSA-Smart Driving License.

These services will be offered whilst adhering to all safety protocols directed by the Government, including wearing masks, providing sanitizers and installing hand washing stations for customers in the centres across the country.

The Principal Secretary applauded the Centre Managers and the Huduma Centre Staff for the excellent work done during the Covid-19 Pandemic in ensuring service delivery to the citizens is satisfactory.

Mrs. Kimonye emphasized the need to prioritize customer and staff safety. “All staff will strictly adhere to WHO and Ministry of Health guidelines as they discharge services at all times. Online services continue through the contact centre: 020 6900020 and through social media,” she said.

Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye interacts with customers in Meru Huduma Centre

She noted that Huduma Kenya Secretariat will be working with Agencies under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to establish mechanisms to clear the backlog for the following services: National Identity Cards and Birth Certificates.

The PS handed over Huduma Centre Guidelines, Labels for Social Distancing in the Centres, sanitizers and received donations of 104 hand-washing basins from Silverspread Hardware, a local business in Meru that will be distributed to all 52 Huduma Centres countrywide.

During her visit, Mrs. Kimonye was accompanied by Huduma Kenya CEO, Mr. James Buyekane among other Huduma Kenya Secretariat officials.

Cabinet Secretary Handover Donations to cushion vulnerable households in Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties

Cabinet Secretary Handover Donations to cushion vulnerable households in Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties

Cabinet Secretary, Prof Margaret Kobia on Thursday 9th, July handed over food and non-food items to COVID-19 Response Committees in Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties to cushion vulnerable households during this period.


Addressing residents while  accompanied by the respective county commissioners, Prof. Kobia noted that the impact of Covid-19 global pandemic is affecting every part of our society and a partnership approach is needed to respond to the emerging challenges.


She lauded partners from the County Government, the National Government, the private sector, and NGOs for providing donations to cushion the vulnerable households from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet Secretary commended Maendeleo ya Wanawake for providing the national network that will ensure the donations reach the most vulnerable women in our society.


“National Government has put in place various interventions to combat Covid-19 pandemic and the National Emergency Response Committee has been coordinating efforts to mitigate the pandemic together with other state and non-state actors,” said Prof. Kobia.


She appealed to the communities in FGM hotspot Counties to support H.E the President’s call to end FGM in Kenya by 2022. She urged for expedited prosecution of the perpetrators of GBV who continue to violate the rights of innocent girls and women.


On her part, Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye called on all public servants to continue discharging their mandate while strictly observing the laid down protocols on combating the Covid-19 global pandemic.
She said in the post-Covid paradigm, public service delivery is going digital which opens up opportunities for youth to serve.


Maendeleo ya Wanawake National Chairperson, Mrs. Rahab Mwikali challenged parents to pay keen attention to their responsibilities now that children are squarely under their care.


She called on religious leaders to teach right morals to repair the broken social moral fabric which has led to unprecedented teenage pregnancies.
Mwikali nostalgically recalled that Tharaka Nithi County was the first one to introduce alternative rite of passage to FGM in the 1990s. She challenged county leaders to upscale the rite and use it to achieve H.E the President’s commitment of End FGM by 2022.


The items handed over included kits, buckets, masks, bar soaps, lessos, rice, beans and fortified health foods. Donors included UNFPA, WEF, UWEZO Fund, Kenya Pipeline Company and Ministry of Devolution and ASALS.


The Cabinet Secretary also presided over the issuance of Affirmative Action Fund cheques from the Women Enterprise Fund worth Kshs.34.15 million to 135 women groups and Uwezo fund worth Kshs. 19.19 million to 238 groups in Meru County. In Tharaka Nithi County Women Enterprise Fund disbursed cheques worth Kshs. 11.45 million to 38 women groups and UWEZO Fund disbursed Ksh 5.9 million to 93 groups to cushion women businesses and their families during this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Other leaders present included Tharaka Nithi Governor, Muthomi Njuki, UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Ademola Olajide, and Bishop Silas Mugambi among other local leaders.

CS, Prof. Margaret Kobia officiated the handover of food and non-food items donated by various organizations to women leaders at the NYS Headquarters, Ruaraka.

CS, Prof. Margaret Kobia officiated the handover of food and non-food items donated by various organizations to women leaders at the NYS Headquarters, Ruaraka.

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Wednesday 8th officiated the handover of food and non-food items donated by various organizations to women leaders at the NYS Headquarters, Ruaraka.

The women leaders have been entrusted with the distribution of the items to the most vulnerable families across the country, with special focus on women.

In her remarks, Prof. Kobia lauded the women leaders for providing support to women and girls who are faced with a crisis during Covid-19 pandemic.

She noted that the Government has announced policy measures including the establishment of Covid-19 Economic Stimulus Programme which targets the vulnerable groups and called on women leaders to take action in order to cushion and protect women and girls at this time when they are most vulnerable.

“The caring role in society falls upon us as women and mothers. Women are the primary caregivers to communities and families in times of crisis,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

Prof. Kobia applauded H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta for directing action on  Gender Based Violence and the rising cases of teenage  pregnancies arguing that it will make the domestic space safer for all, including women and girls.

Also, read: NYS Launches Strategic Plan and Unveils Innovation Projects

Further the CS, indicated that the Ministry through the Affirmative Action Funds has fast tracked release of funds to cushion women enterprises since the month of March, whereby Ksh. 694 Million loans have been processed from the Women Enterprise Fund and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund.

The institutions who have given the donations flagged off today include: Kenya Pipeline Company, National Youth Service, UNFPA, Women Enterprise Fund and Uwezo Fund.

Among leaders present during the event were Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh, Director General – National Youth Service, Matilda Sakwa, UN Women Representative, Anna Mutavati, Chairperson, NGAAF Prof. Wanjiku Kabira, Chairperson, WEF Ms. Njoki Kahiga and MP, Kandara Constituency Hon. Alice Wahome among other women leaders and partners.

NYS Launches Strategic Plan and Unveils Innovation Projects

NYS Launches Strategic Plan and Unveils Innovation Projects

On Tuesday, the Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia hosted her cabinet colleague for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Mr. Joe Muhceru during the unveiling of the National Youth Service (NYS) innovations and launch of Strategic Plan 2019/2020-2023/2024 at the NYS Headquarters Ruaraka, Nairobi. 

In her remarks, Prof. Kobia congratulated the NYS leadership for their efforts in the realization of the Strategic Plan. 

She urged the Council and Management to ensure that the implementation of programmes is carried out in accordance to the strategic plan.

The Cabinet Secretary noted that the establishment of a commercial arm within the NYS, affords the Service the opportunity to engage in various enterprises as a source of revenue generation needed to enhance the sustainability of NYS programmes and projects.

Also, read on: Chief Administrative Secretary Inspects Ministry Programs and Disburses Affirmative Funds in Seven Counties

Prof. Kobia observed that the current challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic has seen NYS taking the frontline role in responding to the pandemic. 

Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru in his address lauded the NYS smart innovation of an electric tuk-tuk and handcart which he termed environmentally friendly. The innovations will provide a low-cost individualized transport alternative for SMEs and those who do not own private vehicles.

He said African economy depends on countries’ entrepreneurs being able to absorb and creatively adapt technological knowledge and innovation since entrepreneurship serves as a catalyst in industrialization and economic growth.

“The uniqueness of this innovation we are launching today is that it brings together key ecosystem actors that lead to successful growth of start-ups globally,” said CS Mucheru.

Mr. Mucheru maintained that the Government will always focus to create an enabling environment that supports innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers to step out and explore.

During the occasion, various partners gave donations to assist the vulnerable groups affected by Covid-19. Among these were Uwezo Fund, Women Enterprise Fund, Kenya Pipeline Corporation, UNFPA, and Ministry of Devolution among others.

Leaders present included Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh (Public Service and Gender), Principal Secretaries Mary Kimonye (Public Service), Prof. Collette Suda (Gender), and Julius Korir (Youth Affairs); Director General – National Youth Service, Matilda Sakwa and UNFPA Country Representative, Ademola Olajide among other government officials and partners.

Past event: Public Service Prepares For Africa Public Service Day 2020

END.

Chief Administrative Secretary Inspects Ministry Programs and Disburses Affirmative Funds in Seven Counties

Chief Administrative Secretary Inspects Ministry Programs and Disburses Affirmative Funds in Seven Counties

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh conducted a two-week inspection tour of the ministry’s programs in seven counties in the Western and Central regions. In the seven counties, Ms. Shebesh visited Huduma Centres, the ‘Kazi Mtaani’ program, and the Rehabilitation of the Kisumu port and Central Kenya railway line system. At the same time, the CAS facilitated disbursement of a total of Kshs 255 Million from the ministry’s Affirmative Funds.

Her visit to Huduma Centres was meant to assess their preparedness as they plan to resume delivery of services following the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. She toured the National Hygiene program dubbed ‘Kazi Mtaani’ in the counties. Kazi Mtaani is a national initiative under the supervision of the NYS. It aims to cushion youth whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The NYS is also engaged in the rehabilitation of the Kisumu port and the Central line of the old railway system.    

During her Western region tour, the CAS inspected operations of ‘Kazi Mtaani’ in Obunga, Manyatta, Nyalenda, and visited Kisumu Port. In Nakuru County, Hon. Shebesh inspected the ongoing ‘Kazi Mtaani’ program and disbursed over Kshs 28 million to vulnerable groups from the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF). 

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh inspecting the ongoing ‘Kazi Mtaani’ programme in Nakuru County  on 5th June, 2020.

In the Central region, the CAS visited NYS Tumaini field station in Nyandarua County where the NYS runs a potato seedlings production project. She called for an increase in the production of certified seedlings and provision of the same to Nyandarua farmers to cushion them during the pandemic period. 

In her discussions with the County leadership, she noted the rise of Gender-Based Violence cases during the Covid-19 period and urged the leadership to use existing National and County government’s structures to set up Gender-Based Violence (GBV) recovery facilities and safe houses to help GBV victims.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh accompanied by Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi, Deputy Governor, Mr. John Mwaniki and County Commissioner,  Mr. Daniel Nyameti during the inspection exercise of the ongoing rehabilitation of the 233Km Nairobi-Nanyuki railway in Laikipia County on 13th June, 2020.

In Kiambu, Hon. Shebesh assessed the progress made with the ‘Kazi Mtaani’ project, the railway rehabilitation works in Kiandutu, Thika Town, and Kariminu, and presided over the issuance of Affirmative Action Funds worth Kshs 89 Million to various groups of Youth, Women, and Persons with Disabilities. In Murang’a County she disbursed over Kshs 57 Million. In Nyeri County, the CAS disbursed funds worth over Kshs 63 million. In Laikipia County,  she disbursed over Kshs 18 Million and challenged the residents to take advantage of the government interest friendly loans. 

She noted that the launch of phase two of ‘Kazi Mtaani’ program would provide a lifeline to 200,000 jobless youth across the country while imparting discipline and life skills under the supervision of the  NYS officers.

In all her stops the CAS interacted with the NYS servicemen and women and encouraged them to continue making their valuable contribution to national development.

Public Service Prepares For Africa Public Service Day 2020

Public Service Prepares For Africa Public Service Day 2020

The nation will next week celebrate the Africa Public Service Day on 23rd June.

Celebrated every year across Africa, the day serves as a platform for Public Service organizations to showcase and reward excellence in the Public Service in order to promote and sustain quality in service delivery. The day was set aside by the African Union for public service organizations to reflect on the successes and challenges within the public service and ponder on plausible mitigating measures to address service delivery challenges.

Kenya has this year selected the theme:Entrenching Good Governance: Developing Transparent and Accountable Public Institutions, which resonates with the 2020 African Union themeSilencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”. 

In line with the prevailing situation occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic and emerging natural disasters among them floods and locusts, the national celebrations for this year will focus on responses to these challenges.

“This year’s celebrations will be unique in that it challenges the way we deliver public services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced service organizations world over to be innovative and adapt new ways of doing business,” said Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender, as she expressed her enthusiasm for this year’s event. She further said that, “even in the wake of challenges posed by COVID -19, continuity and sustainability of excellence in public service delivery remains a priority for government

This year’s events will focus on activities that support the vulnerable citizens in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic; environmental conservation, particularly on tree planting in line with the President’s express commitment to achieve 10%  forest cover by 2022; and recognition of public service innovations and citizen engagement.

Specific activities organized by the State Department for Public Service include donations to vulnerable members of the public, tree planting and environmental cleanup activities in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and other stakeholders, among them county governments and National Administration. Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries and Principal Secretaries will lead their respective ministries and state departments in the tree planting exercise in various designated sites across the country.

The Nation’s Public Service sector has organized forums for Citizen engagement through a series of online interactions and public discourses led by renowned scholars and public figures.

The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender Prof. Margaret Kobia, urged Public Institutions in the National and County Governments to take part in the various activities that have been planned to mark the celebrations in line with their respective mandates.

“This year provides a unique opportunity for publice service to demonstrate sensitivity to challenges facing society and to re-double our efforts in serving the citizens while adhering to ethos and principles of public service,” said the Principal Secretary for State Department for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye.

As part of the celebrations, Ministries have been requested to identify and recognize Public Service Agencies, institutions and individuals that have applied innovation and excelled in public service delivery while serving in the frontlines of Covid-19 mitigation efforts. Download PDF

See more about APSD 2019 ( African Public Service Day 2019 ) Held in Kenya.


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