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Labour ministry embraces ICT in its operations

Labour Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui has said his ministry is committed to embrace ICT in all its services and will continue to push most of its services online to improve service delivery.

Chelugui said the ministry is currently upgrading the Kenya Labour Market information system so as to mine data from other systems and be in a position to generate up-to-date labour market indicators.

He said to improve labour migration management the ministry through the National Employment Authority has automated most of the services such as job seekers registration, local and overseas job application, registration and approval of private recruitment agencies among others.

“The challenge we face in this area is lack of a comprehensive labour migration management systems that can track all the activities of our migrant workers such as when they change employers, to be able to obtain the actual numbers and localities where migrant workers are domiciled and the skills possessed by migrant workers,” he said.

He went on, “we would be interested to partner with ICT professionals in the development of this integral system.”

The CS said this while addressing participants at the annual ICT ‘Connected Summit’ at the Leisure Lodge Resort in Kwale County running under the theme ‘Accelerating digital transformation’.

The connected summit brings together ICT experts from the public and private sector to engage, share knowledge and find solutions to society’s challenges through ICT.

The Labour CS said another intervention they have implemented is the automation of most services offered by NSSF such as member registration, online filing of returns of employers, payment of contributions via M-Pesa services, downloading of member contribution statements through the mobile phone, and online payment of under the tenant purchase scheme loans.

“By embracing ICT reconciliation of members’ records with employers’ returns is now being done in real time hence enabling NSSF to process benefit claims within 19 days from over 90 days previously,” said Chelugui.

He said his ministry also undertakes sectoral studies adding that “currently we are preparing to undertake a national establishment-based skills and occupation survey, whose objective is to identify the stocks of skills within various organizations, and the skills demanded by those organizations”.

Once this exercise is completed, he said the ministry will have up-to-date data on skills and occupation from the demand side, which will be used to compare with the skills being supplied to the industry from the training institutions.

“We will give a special consideration in our analysis to ICT skills because we are in the future of work and would like to know the ICT skill requirements in the formal sector because this information will be useful to guide in policy making,” he said.

Chelugui said in an effort to address the risk of creating a digital divide, the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) has started incorporating ICT training in its trade test.

“By doing so we hope that in future anyone graduating from NITA will have ICT skills,” he said adding that as a start this year alone 1,666 trainees at artisan grades have been assessed and passed in ICT skills.

He further added that the target is for all the 100,000 trainees who graduate from NITA annually to also have ICT skills.

The minister said 1.2 million youth join the labour market every year, some with skills and others without any skill.

By Hussein Abdullahi

 

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