The lifting of a hiring freeze in parastatals spells hope for numerous job-seekers across Kenya.
The hiring freeze has been in place since 2017. It required parastatals to jump through stringent bureaucratic approval hurdles before making any new hires.
A new memo from Head of the Civil Service Joseph Kinyua, however, informed the State-owned firms that they would henceforth be free to hire without having to seek approval from the executive office of the President.
“State corporations with approved Human Resource Instruments will henceforth be exempt from the requirements of the Circular of 28th July 2017 and can therefore recruit staff, including replacement of staff in line with the State Corporations Advisory Committee approved staff establishment,” the circular dated February 7, 2022 reads in part.
The parastatals will still be required to receive board approval and confirmation in writing from the Treasury of availability of the required budget for the new staff.
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“The recruitment should, however, only be undertaken upon alignment with the approved human resource instruments and possession of written confirmation of requisite budgets for the recruitment and sustainability thereof from the National Treasury (as well as) existence of board resolutions approving the recruitment,” Kinyua noted.
The hiring freeze was responsible for a 9.1% decline in workers employed in State-owned firms over the past five years – from 157,100 to 142,800.
Kinyua’s memo stated that many state-owned firms had streamlined their hiring processes and instituted reforms as a result of the freeze, allowing them to ease the restrictions.
“It has…been noted that several State corporations have achieved a good level of compliance,” he observed in the memo.
The lifting of the freeze is expected to open up more opportunities for many unemployed youth in the country.
The latest available Census data indicates that 38.9 percent of the 13,777,600 young Kenyans are jobless. World Bank data also shows that Kenya has the highest youth employment rate in the region.
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