Deputy President William Ruto has asked Parliament to review its decision to slash funds allocated to the National Youth Service (NYS), saying that it will be transformed to curb mismanagement and embezzlement.
Mr Ruto stated that it was unfortunate that Parliament slashed the NYS budget by Sh8 billion at a time when the service was being expanded to benefit more youth.
“I want to persuade Members of Parliament not to criminalise and demonise NYS because of the challenges it has had. NYS can be reformed, NYS will be reformed and we will make it compliant so that there is no more corruption,” said Mr Ruto.
He was speaking Monday at Kasarani Stadium during the disbursement of cheques worth Sh112.5 million to beneficiaries of Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
Mr Ruto’s sentiments were echoed by Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia who called for the resuscitation of NYS projects, saying the programme has benefited many youths across the country.
“Let us not punish the youth for the mistakes of some of us. Currently there are 15,000 recruits in Gilgil and I assure you that NYS will soon be back and running,” said Prof Kobia.
At the same time, DP Ruto said the government’s vision is anchored on the belief that men and women should be equally involved in leadership and decision-making.
It is on this thinking, he said, that the Jubilee administration has prioritised on women empowerment and gender equality and put enormous resources in it, adding that since the inception of the affirmative action fund, Sh31 billion has been transferred to small and medium-sized enterprises, providing support to about 15 million people across the country.
He asked Prof Kobia and her ministry to work with Parliament in amending the regulation that requires a minimum of 100 women to form a group to be benefit from the affirmative action funds.
Prof Kobia appealed to youth and women to take advantage of the various affirmative action funds, saying such opportunities will not always come knocking at their doors.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja lauded the move by the government to list Nairobi among the marginalised regions so that it can benefit from the Marginalisation Fund while also calling for the return of NYS to help curb the increase of crime in the city as a result of the many unemployed youths.
“Poverty in urban areas is worse than poverty in rural areas. Unemployed individuals in Nairobi are facing extreme poverty,” Mr Sakaja said.
Chief Administrative Secretary in the Gender ministry Rachel Shebesh called for the increase of funds allocated to women representatives from the current Sh7 million to Sh20 million.
Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris said there is need to synchronise affirmative funds into one so that it can benefit more Kenyans.