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Treasury review boosts youth access to tenders

Workers at a construction site
Workers at a construction site. The Government wants to ensure 30 per cent of State contracts are reserved for youth and women. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Treasury has abolished old categorisation of tenders to end bias in award of State jobs to youth and women in government contracts.

In a circular to all State departments, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said the enterprises will now be registered under the schemes of Youth, Women and Persons with Disabilities.

Since the inception of the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) programme in the year 2013, the certificates have been issued under five broad categories—General Supplies, Fresh Produce and Agricultural Produce, Professional Services and Consultancy, ICT services and Small works and Engineering.

“In order to ensure that these categorisations (ambiguous) do not hinder the participation of AGPO registered firms in tenders and in order to increase the uptake of the 30 percent procurement reservation, enterprises will now be registered under the schemes of Youth, Women and Persons with Disabilities only,” said Mr Rotich.

“The AGPO certificates will no longer have a specific categorisation as has been the case.”

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Mr Rotich in the circular sent to the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, all Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney General, Auditor General and the chief executive of the Council of Governors directed all accounting officers to enforce the circular.

“It has been observed that these categorisations have hindered the registered enterprises from taking full advantage of tendering opportunities which do not fall under their registered category but which they have the capacity to undertake successfully,” said Mr Rotich.

“This has in turn hampered the uptake of the 30 percent procurement reservation in some procuring entities.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to enforce the reservation of 30 per cent of government contracts to the youth and women to help spur job and wealth- creation.

Despite the affirmative programme which has been anchored in procurement laws, young people have complained of being sidelined in government procurement contracts.

The current procurement rules, President Kenyatta earlier said, would be amended to open a special window for the youth who are currently locked out of public contracts due to lack of capital to compete with established firms.

This means Kenyan youth are set to benefit from Sh300 billion procurement opportunities should the 30 per cent provision be upheld.

Data released by the Treasury in 2017 showed that a total of 45,045 public tenders have been awarded to local enterprises in the last four years.

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