Sh. 20 million for youth in Taita

Youth in Taita Taveta county will benefit from Sh.20 million under the Youth Enterprise Fund (YEF) during this financial year.

The Environment and Natural Resources Principal Secretary (PS), Dr. Margaret Mwakima addressing over 2000 youths in Voi Sub-County on Tuesday, said the government was committed to ensuring that youth, women and people living with disabilities countrywide were empowered economically to improve on their living standards.

Mwakima advised the youth to register in groups or join the existing Saccos so as to benefit from the 30 percent procurement opportunities in the devolved units and national government.

Youth should join Saccos if they want to access more revolving funds to transform their lives, she said.

The PS spoke at a time when the youth entrepreneurs were complaining of lack of access to government procurement opportunities in the region.

The youth had claimed that the Presidential directive that requires women and youth to get 30 percent of the procurement opportunities had not been achieved in the area.

However, Mwakima further stated that the government was also committed to offering best support services to the youth, women and persons living with disabilities, through provision of resources, promotion of awareness and advocacy of appropriate policies.

The law requires that for one to access government tenders, he or she has to have access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) certificate from the Finance and Planning Ministry. For those engaging in production, they are required to produce the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) for them to qualify for the tendering process.

AGPO has become a major hindrance to the development of small scale youth entrepreneurs in the region. There is need for the government to streamline the issue of certification to enable more small scale entrepreneurs to access the procurement opportunities to improve on their lot, Lina Mwachuma, one of the youth entrepreneurs told the PS.

We do not know when the government tenders are being advertised. The government should come up with a way where the beneficiaries can easily access government tenders. Getting the tenders now has become a night mare, she told Mwakima.

The youth further expressed concern over the long delay in acquiring the YEF development loans.

Consolata Mwakima, one of the youth in Voi town, said it was taking too long to access the loans. Other available financial opportunities were the Women Enterprise Fund and Uwezo Fund.

In response to the youth concerns, the PS said the government was in the process of reviewing procurement procedures to ensure that the program runs smoothly for the benefit of the targeted groups.

She said the government is committed towards empowering vulnerable groups to take a leading role in county and national development.

You must take advantage to acquire the government loans which are accessible and affordable to transform your lives, the PS told the youth.

Mwakima said the government would continue training youth and giving them credit facilities to improve their socio-economic status now that they play a major role in nation building.

We want to provide youth with knowledge to not only enable them tackle their day today challenges but also to take care of their funds and themselves, she said.

At the same time, the PS said the government was putting more emphasis on promoting gender equality to achieve Millennium Development Goals for sustainable development.

Source: Kenya News Agency