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House Labour committee wants NYS budget slashed

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The National Assembly Labour Committee now wants the Sh22 billion budgetary allocation requested by National Youth Service (NYS) for the next financial year reduced and the money directed to more deserving constitutional sectors.

Chairman Ali Wario said NYS is a small agency with a lot of money and the manner in which the public resources are being utilised raises a lot of concerns.

To this end, the committee has unanimously agreed to demand that the planned purchase of 50 NYS buses be immediately halted.

They said they have had correspondences with the Transport Ministry but they are yet to receive concrete responses.

Although the committee has agreed on priority areas that money  slashed from the Sh22 billion NYS requested for recurrent and development expenditure, they are still to agree how much should go to each sector saying it is work in progress.

The committee has agreed to have the slashed monies go towards priority areas like Youth Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund as well as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands among others.

Amorphous institution

The only initiative they put a monetary figure to was sanitary pads for schoolgirls, an initiative they want enhanced  from the current Sh470 million to Sh1 billion.

“There are more priority areas that the money should be directed to rather than giving billions of shillings to an agency that has so many issues. Enhancing constitutional based programmes will be our focus,” said Wario.

“We firmly say, halt the buying of NYS buses until an appropriate structure is put in place and we are provided with concrete answers and despite the Transport Principal Secretary having travelled to South Africa to source for them, this is a wrong expenditure,” he added.

It is also the committee’s opinion that NYS be transformed into a department rather than remaining an amorphous institution that takes direction from the Cabinet secretary.

“NYS should have concrete structures, have a board like system complete with procurement structures as opposed to the kind of institution we have right now,” said Wario.

Consequently, the committee declared that they want to determine the mandate of NYS in as far as transport is concerned saying that is a function that falls under county governments.

Possible loss

Projections are that at least Sh500 million is to go towards the purchase of  50 buses, which are expected in the country in about two months as the Government embarks on a project to ease transport for commuters in Nairobi.

The Labour committee’s stand comes against the backdrop of investigations into possible loss of controversial Sh9 billion at NYS.

The 50 buses are a pilot to the bus rapid transit system and should negotiations with a South African firm be completed this week, it will be rolled out end of next month.

NYS is expected to run the rapid transit system until such time when the joint venture between  government and the private sector is operationalised.

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