ODM leader Raila Odinga has promised the youth a conducive environment to do business and grow their skills ahead of the 2022 General Election contest.
In a statement on Sunday, the former Prime Minister said his government will prioritise the creation of a 7-year tax holiday and the provision of affordable loans for enterprises owned by young people.
“This age group can bring limitless opportunities to our country, but only if they are trained and then provided with opportunities to implement their knowledge and skills. Creating opportunities, particularly jobs, for these young people is the biggest challenge this country has to deal with going into the future. All our policies must reflect this reality,” he said.
Raila proposed the formation of a youth commission to advance interests of the young generation.
The commission, he said, will advise both the national and county governments on policies and programs that secure sustainable livelihood for the youth.
He further noted that there is an urgent need to redesign, revamp and relaunch Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO).
“When the youth make 75 percent of our population, it beats logic to have an institution that is meant to help them placed at National Treasury, under a small toothless secretariat. AGPO belongs in the Ministry responsible for youth affairs. Parliament needs change the AGPO Act,” he said.
He proposed a review of Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loans by expanding the limit to reflect the cost of living in Kenya as it evolves, removing the interest rates accrued and CRB listing of the graduates.
In addition, he said, there is need to increase and expand bursaries in tertiary institutions to also reflect the reality of the cost of living.
The youth, Raila said, should have easy access to ICT resources that will help them access, among others, entrepreneurship training, and guidance and counselling on drugs and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention.
“Activate Youth Internet Designate Spots/ Zones across the country, with free internet and professional guidance services for Youth to access internet for jobs and other opportunities. These spaces will have to be run by youth, recruited as ICT Interns by the Public Service Commission,” he said.
Raila also promised to re-engineer the National Youth Service and devolve it to all the 47 counties and design a policy for Youth Leaders Program, both global and local by supporting 1000 youth every year with paid internship in UN and other international agencies across the world to enable them grow and be infused with best practices by developed countries.
“With the help of the National government and Private sector, roll out a 10,000 Per year Kenya National Youth Internship Program (KNIP). Revamping Industries across the 47 counties for MADE IN KENYA products to provide employment opportunities for the youth and make use of and perfect their skills. KICOTEC by Kitui County Government would provide the guidance needed in this direction,” he said.
To protect the youth from exploitation, the ODM leader proposed a program to review the quality of jobs offered to the Kenyan youth abroad, ensure the security of young Kenyans taking up such jobs and make the entire process friendly, transparent and accountable.
He also proposed the creation of a National Boda Boda Fund and Local Boda Boda Assembly Units for Motorbikes to support 2.4 million Kenyan riders.