Deputy President William Ruto has promised a waiver of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax penalties for youth-owned businesses and to prioritise payment of pending bills to boost suppliers should he become President.
Dr Ruto has also promised to legislate a 30-day time-frame for payment following protests by suppliers over delayed payments that have driven some businesses under.
The DP has also pledged to legislate tax incentives to ensure that young Kenyans gain skills from foreign companies operating in the country. These promises, which are intended to make life easier for the youth, are stipulated in a youth charter formulated by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
DP Ruto signed the charter at Nyayo National Stadium on Monday night, promising a revolving fund for small businesses. The youth will also benefit from a minimum taxable profit which will increase cash retention by youth-owned businesses to boost their operations and retain more capital, which will help them to expand their businesses.
Should the Kenya Kwanza team win, young people will no longer need experience when applying for government jobs and will have unlimited access to the Youth Enterprise Fund.
Companies offering internship and apprenticeship programme will receive tax incentives, while interns will receive monthly stipends. Companies that employ youth with no prior experience will also receive incentives.
“We commit to issue free youth certificates for Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (Agpo), as well as allocating 30 per cent of government procurement opportunities for the youth. We will also strengthen implementation measures by the public Procurement Regulatory Authority to ensure maximum adherence to the 30 per cent youth Agpo policy in public tenders,” explained DP Ruto.
He also pledged to increase tax on imported commodities, while simultaneously reducing taxes on locally produced goods to promote local manufacturing. This, he said, will promote manufacturing start-ups which will create jobs for the youth.
Other pledges include integrating county licences into one smart licence to cater for different licensing demands for businesses and doing away with red tape and bureaucracy in accessing government credit.
Speaking during the signing of the charter, the DP explained that the youth are essential to the prosperity of the nation and that their participation can help the country to overcome its developmental challenges.
He expressed concern about the marginalisation of the youth, who are often at a disadvantage because of inequalities in income, wealth, unemployment, poverty, hunger, illiteracy and poor quality of health services.
Others, he noted, have experienced violence and other forms of discrimination, while most have had to battle against malnutrition, drug and substance abuse, teenage pregnancies, early marriages and female genital mutilation.
The Deputy President also advanced his bottom-up economic approach, saying, it offers the best opportunity for improving the quality of life for the youth in the country.