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Government clarifies that Ajira Digital fee is only meant to cater for tax compliance

Youth  benefiting from the Ajira digital programme will not be required to pay Sh.10, 000 as registration fee as reported  in a section of the media.

The  Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has however, clarified only those who have contracted  online  work  will be required to pay the money to cater for Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax compliance.

The  ICT  Principal Secretary (PS), Jerome Ochieng said on Friday in Kisumu the money is not meant for registration as  widely  reported in the media.

The  PS  however, maintained that only those who will earn money from online jobs will be required to pay, while those who will not be able to make money from the digital platform will not be compelled to pay, he said.

“This money is not meant for registration but would be channeled into an Ajira seed fund to benefit other Ajira youth and innovators,” he said.

Jerome, who  made  the remarks  while  closing  a  four-week  Ajira digital basic skills training, held at the University of  Nairobi’s, Kisumu  Campus, also  announced  that  the ICT Ministry will enhance the Ajira programme to include mentorship.

Yesterday, the  Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury, Henry Rotich, while delivering the 2019/2020 budget statement in  Parliament announced that youth will have to pay 10,000 shillings from January 2020 as an alternative for their income tax.

The  Ajira Digital Programme  is  a  government  initiative driven by the Ministry of Information, Communications, and  Technology to empower over one million young people to access digital job opportunities.

The  PS  said  in the recent drive, over 2500 youth have been in Kisumu campus, University of Nairobi main campus,Technical University Mombasa, Kenyatta University, Nakuru campus and Tom Mboya University College in Homa Bay.

“We  have created awareness through training in 31 universities and this year alone we have trained over 15,000 youth, with over 600,000 youth working on digitally enabled jobs,” he added.

“In  an effort  to  drive  the digital economy, we are encouraging a number of innovators and entrepreneurs to develop  innovations that can be marketed locally and regionally,” he added.

Ochieng  announced  that  his  ministry, in  collaboration  with  that  of  Education  was  reviewing the ICT curriculum to  incorporate digital concepts so that students are equipped with practical ICT basic skills to address gaps in the market.

“We urge Universities and Technical and Educational Technical institutions to institutionalize the Ajira programme as part of the curriculum and adopt Ajira Digital clubs to ensure youth are engaged in productive innovations” he added.

Ochieng  said the Government has set up 135 innovation hubs and the 63 libraries and challenged youth to visit them  to  get online work given the high rate of unemployment amongst youth.

The  Ajira programme  seeks  to position Kenya as a choice labour destination for multinational companies as well as  encourage local companies and the public sector to create digital work.

By  George  Kaiga

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