The Kenya Association of Private Employment Agencies abbreviated as KAPEA is the largest and oldest umbrella body of private employment agencies in the country and has been on existence since 1998.
The Main aim of the association is to streamline the industry and ensure ethical recruitment of members.
The association is however expressing concerns with the manner in which things are being run at the ministry of labour and social protection.
Firstly is the interaction with the Ministry of Labour which is the parent Ministry. According to the Secretary General Virginia Murigi she notes that the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and social protection Florence Bore has never engaged the Kenya association of private employment agencies since she took office.
Instead, she has been compromising with a handful of ‘representatives” whom she purports to be representing the private employment agencies.
“Its a pity that despite being a holder of that office, the CS has never taken the initiative to call us for a meeting so that we can interact and share our views pertaining this industry which we agree is very lucrative. It’s also a shame that the CS is in record announcing that the Diaspora remittances were Ksh 400 billion whilst we are capable of posting a trillion plus in support of this economy,” SG Virginia noted.
Another key point of concern is the lackluster nature of the ministry in failing to curb the unauthorized, unscrupulous agencies which continues to fleece unsuspecting members of the public.
“its also in the public domain that some of those representatives of agencies the CS has been meeting are of questionable character and some of them have either pending court cases and are under sharp scrutiny because their dealings are suspicious,”
To add salt to the injury, most of the agencies now have acquired a very bad reputation among members of the public whereby everyone now believes that all agencies are cons.
“We are seen as cons because of being represented by crooks who have tainted our image through their underhand dealings. We as the big stakeholders we have never been engaged nor consulted. The CS has never shown interest in the same.
It’s also interesting that KAPEA has never ever been granted audience by the Principal Secretary of Diaspora Affairs whose one key mandate is ot receive remittances.
“we are tired of being left in a mess. We are trying to protect the industry. Our question to the CS is:
“What is the CS doing to protect foreign investors ? What are the strategies put in place for migrant workers to protect them from rogue agencies? Where are the regulatory structures? Whose mandate is it to make sure the rogue agencies don’t operate? Is it the work of Government or is it KAPEA’s mandate?”
The secretary general alluded that they have a variety of solutions but the door is always locked by the singular action of the CS of engaging the rogue stakeholders who pretend to represent the genuine ones.
“We are sure and we know that the President is not aware of the problems and the challenges we have been going through. For example we haven’t been in business since January.
The SG notes:
“When we aren’t in business the economy suffers. We are one of the key sectors that inject a lot of revenue to the government coffers. We have seen people like the COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli accusing agencies. This shows ignorance and lack of information on the ground. He should instead be supporting the industry that brings billions to our economy and also meet stakeholders to find solutions. The association also expressed disappointment with the casual approach of pertinent issues by National Employment Authority and also the National Industrial Training Authority.
“By the duration imposed on migrant workers and especially domestic workers through NITA has brought the visa issuance down no employer is willing to wait for 3 months to deploy one worker whereas the market is very competitive and our country has become less attractive to employers.. Leading to massive losses to us and to our country.
We, as KAPEA we have lasting solutions to bring 1 trillion remittance if we are accorded the necessary support by the Government.” she concluded.