, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – Public Servants are set to benefit from a new Training Revolving Fund that was launched on Thursday morning with a start up capital of Sh92 million to help them upgrade their education skills.
Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno said the kitty was aimed at developing human capital to help steer the country towards Vision 2030.
He explained that the fund would operate in similar fashion to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and hoped to reach Sh1 billion as optimum capacity. He said that his ministry had requested the Treasury to finance the kitty with Sh200 million every financial year until it reached its target.
Otieno further noted that the kitty would help the government reach out to other staff who could not be reached through the regular training opportunities created by the ministries.
“Now we are opening up the second avenue for public officers where they will be able to take different courses, as they choose, but access the resources through the fund,” he said.
To qualify for the funds, one must be a civil servant who has worked for the government for at least five years.
HELB Board Secretary Benjamin Cheboi further said that the civil servants would be allowed to repay their funds with little or no interest, depending on the modalities that would be negotiated by their ministries.
He added that the officers’ repayments would be deducted from their salaries, once they started accessing the fund to minimise non-payment.
“It will be a negotiated interest rate and the ministry of public service may say that it doesn’t want a fund that will attract an interest but that will be determined. This is a special fund that is ring fenced for public servants,” he stressed.
Cheboi further revealed that his board was currently recovering its loans at a rate of 60 percent annually, which translated to about Sh2.6 billion this year.
Otieno also noted that the kitty was open to all public officers except those in the military as they had their own arrangements.
He added that his ministry was also pushing for the reassessment of HELB by the Treasury to increase its current capacities in resource mobilisation.
The loans’ board currently has an asset base of Sh30 billion.
“We would want it to have better structures so as to lift the human resources in our country so that we can be sure of our journey to competitiveness,” he said.
He further observed that the Public Service Superannuation Fund had already gone through the second reading and would soon be an Act of Parliament. He explained that the fund would help fast track reforms in the public service by facilitating fair administration.
“The Act has a commencement date of July 1, 2012. We can then start managing the proper performance based system and it will also help us provide pension for our officers over the period that they will have qualified,” he said.
Otieno added that the government was in the process of transforming the Kenya Institute of Administration into a fully fledged government school.