By Alain Christian
The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) today held a meeting at their headquarters to discuss challenges facing the country towards improving the wellbeing of the people.
Speaking at the meeting, the FKE National President Habil Olaka said that they agree with His Excellency the President that jobs is a priority agenda for Kenya and are committed to working with the government and other stakeholders to create a friendly and competitive business environment, while eradicating barriers that hamper business development and growth.
“Over two million workers lost their jobs in 2020 and 2021 due to covid-19 pandemic where many are not yet back to work and 85 percent of Kenyans underemployed in low-income low quality informal sector,” he said.
He said that to create jobs in the country they need to focus on reducing the labour costs and improving productivity.
“The continued piecemeal amendments to the Labour Laws and introduction of various social protection initiatives that all require employers to finance are raising the cost of labour in Kenya to a level that is unsustainable,” he added.
Dr. Olaka said that they support the government’s agenda to establish a universal social protection system that encompasses Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Universal Social Security Coverage.
“This is a noble goal that we employers support. The challenge lies in establishing a viable funding mechanism that will not be detrimental to the competitiveness of our labor market,” he said “The financing requires a shared approach where no party is overburdened.”
He also added that they support the enhancement of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to secure Kenyans in old age, although new rates have to be implemented due to the nullified NSSF Act 2013.
“The recent decision by the court now gives all stakeholders the opportunity to go back to the drawing board by holding consultative engagements to reach win-win proposals,” he said.
He commended the country’s initiative to support those affected by the drought, which has led to the launch of “Waajiri for Kenyans Initiative” that aims to bring employers together to raise funds towards mitigating the effects of the drought.
“We are committed to work with the Government and other stakeholders to support the development of our country and improve the well-being of our people,” he said.
His also lauded the President William Ruto for committing to scaling up the country’s forest cover in order to reverse the effects of climate change that the nation is currently experiencing.