The Kenyan government through the ministry of Labour is working round the clock to come up with more initiatives to address job losses that result from effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
Labour Principal Secretary Eng. Peter Tum has said more low income workers will be engaged in the extended public works projects such as Kazi Mtaani which is currently in its second phase whereby Sh 10 billion has already been allocated.
Eng Tum stated that the Kazi Mtaani project will help achieve the multiple aims of providing employment and daily wages for low income workers, improving sanitation and thus helping curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
The first phase of Kazi Mtaani which was rolled out on April 29, 2020 covering eight pilot counties Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kisumu, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera had benefited 31,000 youth in 34 informal settlements within the target counties where the government allocated a total of Sh. 760 million.
Eng. Tum stated that the second phase of the Kazi Mtaani which now targets all informal settlements across the 47 counties will benefit more than 283,000 youth who include the supervisors.
“In phase one the youths were paid Sh 655 each per day but it has been scaled down to Sh 455 in the current second phase so as to bring in as many beneficiaries as possible as well as ensure benefits across the country,” said the PS.
He noted that more than 2,900 youth recruited in Baringo County are set to work under the Kazi Mtaani for the next six months and that this will be a big boost to the livelihoods of people living in informal settlements.
The labour PS who cautioned youth against abusing the wages on things like alcohol, said in order to enhance integrity of the funds, the money shall continue to be channeled to the individual beneficiaries through mobile money platform after every two weeks.
Eng Tum stated that the second phase of Kazi Mtaani will concentrate on more sustainable approach that will include town beautification, construction of access roads using cobal stones, upgrading of access roads and rehabilitation of public facilities such as schools and hospitals.
“The activities will be carried out in collaboration with the county government and the success of Kazi Mtaani will rely on identification of the most vulnerable person from the informal settlements to ensure that the process is fair and equitable.
County commissioner Henry Wafula told the beneficiaries of the second phase not to worry about payment saying the mechanism put in place which is use of mobile money transfer will address such challenges that have in the past resulted to protests.
Governor Stanley Kiptis, who was flanked by his deputy Jacob Chepkwony and Kabarnet ward MCA Ernest Kibet, lauded the national government for the Kazi Mtaani initiative and urged the government to extend it to reach the jobless youth at grassroots level who were equally needy as their colleagues in urban informal settlements.
Kiptis appealed to the Ministry of Labour that they be allowed to utilize beneficiaries who have technical skills to assist the county government in some areas like masonry.
On their part the youths thanked the government for the program and requested for safety gear such as gum boots, reflectors, masks and first aid to be used while undertaking their duties
By Vincent Miningwo/Christopher Kiprop