Fresh graduates are set to secure job opportunities in a deal struck between the National Government and the employers, majorly business owners.
In the new deal, businesses that employ more than 10 fresh graduates will enjoy a tax relief equivalent to half of the fresh graduates’ salaries.
The new deal that aims at taming unemployment during the current financial year officially starts on Saturday January 1. Businesses that will qualify for this incentive will be required to hire the graduates for between six months and a year.
UoN graduates celebrate during the 57th Graduation Ceremony held at the institution’s grounds on September 22, 2017.
The main objective of the programme is to boost skills development and increase the youth’s employment rate in the country.
The deal is set to be implemented following the changes made by the National Treasury led by Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in the Finance Act 2021 to open doors for graduates from technical and vocational institutions to gain experience just like their counterparts from universities.
“Any employer who engages at least 10 university or technical and vocational education and training graduates as apprentices for a period of six to 12 months during any year of income shall be eligible for a tax rebate in the year subsequent to the year of such engagement,” reads part of the changes.
Prior to Treasury adopting this new directive, only firms that were employing at least 10 university graduates were eligible for tax relief, a move that was effected back in 2016.
The latest changes come at the backdrop of the growing emphasis on technical and vocational institutions. Fresh graduates from institutions of higher learning struggle for limited job opportunities due to a lack of specialised market skills and experience to perform tasks.
Data from the Economic Survey 2021 indicated that the country’s economy lost over 187,300 formal jobs in the year ended June 2020, marking the first time since 2001 when some 18,300 salaried workers were rendered jobless.
The numbers highlighted the economic struggles that were induced by shutdowns and restrictions that were lifted late in 2021 following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive.
The unemployment rate grew despite the enrollment rate at institutions also hitting new levels. According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), enrollment at the institutions grew 130.4 per cent to 451,205 students in 2020 from 195,857 in 2016.
St Paul’s University graduates in 2017. The institution was ranked third nationally by uniRank, a leading international higher education directory.