The ministry of Labour and Social Protection is undertaking a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) programme to export skilled labour to other countries especially those in the Middle East.
Labour Principal Secretary Engineer Peter Tum has said the government is targeting to export more than 30, 000 technical skilled labourers before the end of the current financial year.
He observed that through exporting labour, the country stands to gain in terms of income remittance which is expected to revive and spur economic growth.
Speaking when he visited Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makuyu, Murang’a county, the PS noted that the country will only export surplus labour saying in Kenya there is also a gap for middle-level technicians in the labour market.
He noted that for the last one year, about 35, 000 Kenyans working in Qatar among other countries in the Middle East were able to increase income remittance in the country from Sh48 billion to Sh92 billion.
“The ministry of labour is currently undertaking RRI where we are in negotiation with some countries to absorb surplus labour from our country. By the end of next year, we want to grow income remittance from currently Sh 340 billion to more than Sh1 trillion,” remarked the PS.
Tum said they are also working in partnership with the ministry of education to ensure marketable skills are being taught in the technical training institution.
Tum said the government is engaging individual foreign countries to ensure social protection of those working abroad is guaranteed.
The PS further said some of the countries have already changed labour laws to ensure foreigners are not mistreated in any way.
“The agencies involved in recruiting workers for foreign countries are currently under strict directives to ensure they follow given guidelines when recruiting and training workers for foreign countries.
The agencies need to be registered and permitted to carry out the task as well as ensure those taken abroad are guaranteed social protection,” explained Tum.
He added that the ministry of labour is currently in process of certifying examinations and courses being offered in the institutes so as to ensure they are not only marketable in the country, but also viable in other countries.
“Currently there about 90, 000 students being trained in colleges approved by National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), and 50, 000 0f of them are picked from enterprises to increase skills on jobs they were doing,” noted the PS.
He observed that they are out to sensitize more young people to take up technical courses from NITA approved colleges saying currently majority of those pursuing the courses are males.
“We are working out together with other relevant government organizations to sensitize more people, especially those who are not under the formal system of education to join technical colleges. The appeal is also targeting women as the number of ladies pursuing the courses is minimal,” he added.
Bernard Munyao and Florence Kinyua