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Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – The Government of President Uhuru Kenyatta has turned away more than 36,000 university and college graduates from the Government’s paid internships, a project that was launched by the president himself in 2017. 

Out of 42,132 applicants for the financial year June 2019/2020, only 2,260 interns were absorbed by Ministries, State Agencies and parastatals – according to the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual report.  

Applicants were denied entry after the National Treasury initiated a three-year employment freeze to cut the wage bill that has taken a toll on the government’s finances. 

The Treasury further warned Government offices against employing more staff and interns after the wage bill was projected to rise to Ksh 830 billion from Ksh 795 billion.

“The program, however, managed to absorb only 13% of the applicants due to budgetary constraints,” PSC clarified in a report presented in Parliament. 

56% of interns absorbed were male (3,114) and female were 44% (2,446).

144 interns were persons living with a disability. 

In 2017, Kenyatta detailed that the program would boost his one million jobs a year agenda and uplifting of the youth. 

This comes at the time the country is in the election mood over the controversial BBI with opponents, led by Deputy President William Ruto, claiming the document does not address unemployment in the country.

Data presented by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in June 2020 revealed that over 700,000 youth were rendered jobless by the Covid-19 pandemic that broke out in Kenya on Friday, March 13.

Kenya’s unemployment rate doubled to 10.4% in just three months, March to June 2020. 

At least 1.72 million workers lost their jobs when the government imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The government has since set up measures to curb unemployment through initiatives such as Generation Unlimited Kenya (GenU Kenya) launched by the Head of State on Wednesday, August 5, 2020. 


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