SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES DURING THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE RECRUITS PASSING-OUT PARADE AT THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE COLLEGE, GILGIL ON 16TH FEBRUARY, 2018

On September 20, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very pleased to join you today.  What a pleasure it is to see so many young patriots, and so many distinguished Kenyans. Let me also recognize and thank the people of Nakuru, and their Governor, for that warm welcome.  It’s a pleasure to be back.  Asanteni. Now, this parade is unique in that it marks the completion of training for the largest single intake of NYS recruits. I wish to congratulate all of you; you have endured the rigors of training to graduate today, ready to serve your country.  Hongera! Your determination to press on, and to surpass the ordinary limits of endurance, shows that you are no ordinary young people.  You have been tried and tested, and you have not been found wanting.  Today’s ceremony marks an important turning point: we now ask you to turn the ability you have shown to the service of Kenya. I also congratulate the management and staff of the NYS for their hard work and diligence that has led to the success of this important day. Ladies and Gentlemen, The focus of my Government for the next five years is what we have called the Big 4 Agenda.  These are: manufacturing, affordable housing, food security, and universal health care.  The transformation of our economy demands strong pillars.  In the Big Four, it has found them. The pillars of the Big Four are held up by our youth: in every area of endeavour, our young people are called to distinguish themselves. Indeed, the National Youth Service must play a critical role in the attainment of the Big 4 Agenda. In this regard, I direct the Service to expedite its commercialization agenda, especially in the areas of agribusiness, garment making, and construction. Ladies and Gentlemen, Despite the rapid growth that the NYS has experienced over the last few years, the institution has been able to proactively manage the resources at its disposal, sometimes in difficult circumstances.  The growth in recruitment from 4,000 recruits to 30,000 in a space of four years has inevitably come with its own challenges.  But it has not been an exercise in merely increasing numbers; rather, it has opened up opportunities for thousands of young people, who otherwise would not have had the resources to acquire the skills and training offered at NYS. Ladies and Gentlemen, As a Government, we have consistently dedicated resources for youth empowerment initiatives and sought to put in place policies that will create opportunities for our young people.  For example, in the last Passing Out parade, I increased the monthly allowance for recruits, servicemen and women from Ksh. 700 per month (which had persisted for close to 15 years to Ksh. 2,100 in recognition of the rise in the cost of living over the period. Moreover, I directed that all disciplined forces must accommodate a proportion of servicemen and women from the NYS in their annual recruitment. I am informed that only the National Police Service and the Prisons Service have since recruited a few servicemen and women. Going forward, and recognizing the importance of absorbing our youth into the disciplined forces, I shall require a compliance update from all disciplined services following each intake. To further bolster the resolve to engage the youth in gainful employment, I have directed the NYS to spearhead the revival of the cotton industry and to put its vast land parcels into viable use.  To this end, I also directed the recovery of all NYS land illegally converted to private use, and the allocation of 100,000 acres of the Galana Kulalu complex, and the model NIB farm in the Tana Delta, to the Service. These directives are intended to achieve the aggregate outcome of contributing to industrialization, food security and creation of sustainable employment for the youth.  In this regard, aside from the creation of forward and backward integration, the revival of the cotton industry beginning with Galana-Kulalu will open up substantial new opportunities; while a solar power park will open up the Kirimun region of Samburu/Laikipia to agri-business and the establishment of the very first meat processing factory in the North Rift. The NYS is taking the leading role in all these initiatives with the exclusive involvement the youth. Ladies and Gentlemen, In the past one and a half years, the NYS Youth Empowerment Program has made remarkable impact in up-scaling living conditions in disadvantaged regions and poor urban neighborhoods, before it was halted temporarily to allow time to take stock of countrywide achievements. By the end of the period to October 2017, the program had engaged 236,250 community youth in 253 constituencies across all 47 counties. The youth had saved a total of Ksh. 3.48 billion in 688 SACCOs.  A significant portion of the savings is already circulating in youth businesses ranging from merchandising, agency business, transportation, communication, agriculture, entertainment, beauty and hospitality. I look forward to the speedy resumption of this transformative programme countrywide, and direct the National Youth Service as well as the other relevant Government bodies to do all they can to ensure that the community youth are back to work as soon as possible. Ladies and Gentlemen, The key to achieving our national goals and the aspirations of our people, including Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda, lies in working together in deliberate and strategic partnerships. Often, we speak of public-private partnerships as vehicles of economic growth. Whereas these are important, I would like to encourage more public-public partnerships. The collaboration between the Numerical Machining Complex (NMC) and the National Youth Service is an instructive case in point. NMC was established thirty years ago but it still operates at below 30% capacity!  Yet, this institution was vested with some of the highest-precision tool making machinery on the African continent, and a foundry; all of which lie more or less idle as the country continues to strain under the burden of importing what NMC can produce locally. I therefore direct the Numerical Machining Complex to collaborate with the NYS Engineering Institute, the NYS Craft School and the NYS Mechanical and Transport Training School to share skills in training, and expand production horizons to tap into the expanding construction market, the expansion of the Standard Gauge Railway and LAPPSET, among others. Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish those young men and women who have played their part in today’s parade all the very best in your remaining years of service in the NYS.  May the patriotism you have shown here remain strong throughout your service, and may it inspire others to serve Kenya.

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