, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 29 – President Mwai Kibaki has directed relevant government departments to fully utilise newly acquired machinery aimed at modernising the National Youth Service to accelerating national development.
In his directive, President Kibaki said that line ministries should take advantage on the ongoing NYS modernisation programme to guarantee provision of quality services and improved physical infrastructure, increased agricultural productivity and provision of clean water throughout the country.
“In view of the capacity now available in the National Youth Service, I call upon the Ministries of Roads, Agriculture, Water and Irrigation, Regional Development and Local Government to collaborate with the NYS in order to fast-track implementation of programmes under their respective dockets.”
With the equipment, the Head of State affirmed, the NYS had attained the capacity to establish three independent road and dam construction units capable of undertaking major development projects as well as respond adequately to public emergencies in the country.
“Today we are commissioning road construction and earth moving equipment, agricultural machinery, fire fighting engines and generators among other equipment granted to us courtesy of the Chinese government at reasonable terms,” the President said.
The Machinery has been made available after negotiations initiated with China in 2006 aimed at financing a comprehensive modernisation programme of the National Youth Service.
The Head of State noted that for a long time, the NYS has strived to live up to its mandate of training qualified technical workforce and undertaking national projects but was hindered by lack of appropriate and modern equipment.
“Indeed, nearly all the training and operational equipment in use by the Service were commissioned between 1978 and 1982. In addition, as a disciplined force, which is expected to respond promptly during national emergencies, the level of preparedness of the National Youth Service in terms of disaster response equipment has been wanting. The replacement as well as replenishment of equipment is therefore required,” he observed.
The NYS, established in 1964 contributes significantly towards the overall development of the country through implementation of various projects such as road construction, airfields, dams and water canals.
“The assortment of equipment assembled before you, worth Sh4.3 billion is one of the most ambitious investment projects supported by the government in one single phase. With this equipment, the National Youth Service will be able to establish three independent road and dam construction units capable of undertaking any major development project. This investment will also entail tremendous improvement in the field of training, farming, disaster response and distribution of relief supplies,” The President said.
He further directed the NYS to move with speed to complete the Hola-Garsen section of the Garissa-Malindi highway which stalled due to lack of resources and appropriate equipment.
The Head of State commended NYS for steadily producing highly qualified youth in the country and preparing them to take advantage of existing economic opportunities and channelling their energies to self improvement and national development.
Due to the high calibre of training in NYS, the President revealed he had directed government departments to give priority the institutes’ graduates during recruitment exercises which has so far led to absorption of over 9,000 servicemen and women in the disciplined forces.
He noted:” I am glad to note that several thousands of National Youth Service graduates have been absorbed in various departments within the public sector, with the Administration Police Force and the Armed Forces enlisting 6,500 and 2,550 National Youth Service members respectively over the past two years.”
President Kibaki further committed that the government would continue to expand operations and training programmes in NYS in order to provide Kenyan youth with opportunities to access technical training and acquire gainful employment.
President Kibaki thanked the government of the People’s Republic of China for its steadfast and continued support to the people and Government of Kenya.
In his address the Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka urged the Chinese Government to take advantage of the cordial and deep bilateral relations existing between the two countries to establish local plants to manufacture spare parts for the acquired machinery to increase their lifespan.
The VP noted that Kenya’s strategic location in the East and Central African region would make such an investment viable and worthwhile.
Mr Musyoka further proposed that Treasury directly funds NYS in order to make early interventions of road maintenance and public emergencies as well during unforeseen disasters.