The government through the Ministry of Labor is committed to growing the country’s workforce by tapping and harnessing skills required in the local, regional and international labor markets, to address rising unemployment among Kenyans.
Labour Cabinet Secretary (CS), Simon Chelugui, said the country’s youthful population presents a huge potential to drive much-needed growth through high-level production, industrialization, and innovations as well as the providing ready market for locally produced goods and services.
Speaking during the launch of Kenya’s Standard of Industrial Classification [keSIC] of all economic activities in Naivasha, Chelegui, said currently they are over four million Kenyans working abroad, remitting revenue of over Sh400 billion to the country yearly.
He said the country holds a huge potential of well-skilled and educated young Kenyans, whom the government wishes to tap and retrain to enable them to access the international labor market guided by individual countries’ skills requirements and economic prospects.
The CS said the government will embark on conducting surveys and developing up-to-date statistics on the labor workforce in other countries to identify the skills required and the training needs to enable more Kenyans to find and access jobs there.
“Expanded workforce in the international labor market will help ease the unemployment crunch among Kenyans as well as boost the financial inflows and remittances to the country,” he said.
The CS added that the launched standards will help in harnessing required skills as it provides a comprehensive framework, within which economic data can be collected and reported on for purposes of economic analyses, decision making, and policy formulation.
The Labor CS said KeSIC also provides the opportunity to have adequate information to measure the performances of various industries to enable the country to identify key drivers of growth that will guide the allocation of resources.
Chelugui added that the standards at the same time provide a coherent system for harmonization of information generated for ease of updating the statistics and allow for comparison across the National Statistical System under the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The CS at the same time said the developed standards will guide the human resources departments, to provide up-to-date labor markets information that informs decisions on development policies, strategies, legislation, and programs for employment and for sustainable job creation.
Consequently, Chelugui challenged relevant government players and the private sector to harness and tap into the expanded East African region with over 300 million residents which holds a huge market potential both for jobs and for the locally produced goods and services.
The CS exuded confidence that with the launched standards, relevant players in the economy will be able to make informed policy decisions based on shared and harmonized statistics touching the economy, demographic data, and census information within the larger East African region.
Chelugui also called for the need to break economic, social, and physical barriers and boundaries in order to achieve one harmonized EA community with shared prosperity.
He was happy to note that the government is working to promote harmonious labor relationships among key players including workers, employees, and industry so as to minimize industrial unrests that affect overall productivity.
By Erastus Gichohi and Calvin Osiemo