By September 12, 2019

A Kenyan MP Has A ‘Brilliant’ Plan To End Youth Unemployment – Except That It Comes With 25,000 Job Cuts

By September 12, 2019

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A Kenyan MP has come up with a plan that may well render thousands of Kenyans jobless.

Charles Njagua who is popularly known by the AKA, ‘Jaguar’, is about to become a whole lot unpopular. The member of the Starehe Parliament has filed a motion to reduce the age of retirement in the Kenyan civil service to 50 years from the current 60 years.

Jaguar, who used to be a musician before he found his way into the Kenyan parliament, has tethered his proposal to the noble idea of cutting the high number of unemployed youth in the country. But there are concerns that his idea has all the makings of “dropping the glass jug to save the glass tumbler from falling and smashing to a thousand pieces.”

An excerpt from the motion read thus; “This house urges the government to review the mandatory retirement age in the public service from the current 60 to 50 years to, among other things, create opportunities for the employment of the youth.”

But his idea will surely not go down well with the no less than 31 percent or 25,000 members of Kenya’s public service who, according to a finding from three years ago, have clocked 50 years or more.

And, if by some sleight-of-hand, the MP’s plan does see the light of day, more than 25,000 people might be affected given that the number of people that have attained the age of 50 between 2016 and now would have increased.

What Are The Possible Consequences Of The New Proposal?

The Kenyan civil service employs over 70,000 people when civil servants in the national government and thousands more in the counties are considered. And around half that number would definitely be axed if the Jaguar’s motion goes all the way.

Truncating the work career of thousands, who may not be in a good place at the moment with regards to retirement plans, could easily cause anxiety in public offices and the implications could be far-reaching.

It is unlikely that Jaguar will be able to push the new retirement age motion all the way but if it does happen, many households that haven’t gotten their retirement plans in order are sure to suffer untold hardship from such a drastic measure.

More so, a mass purge of public service workers from the payroll of the civil service into the pension plan is certain to overburden a government that already has its hands full as it tries to manage a bloated pension bill.

Furthermore, a hit this big would surely disrupt things at the ministerial level of government where succession management challenges often force retention of staff beyond the official retirement age. 

It’s kind of a ‘usual’ arrangement for persons due for retirement to stay in office a couple more years to mentor successors as government ministries often face challenges finding able replacements for retirees.

But Jaguar is convinced young people are ready to step into those shoes, and mandating civil servants to retire at 50 is one way to get them into the thick of the action.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how the rest of this development plays out.

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