Bill proposes scrapping of scandal-hit National Youth Service

Lawmaker says NYS does not serve public interest for which it was established.

Thursday March 17 2016

Leaders join NYS recruits in a clean-up in

Leaders join NYS recruits in a clean-up in Kongowea, Mombasa. Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma has formulated which seeks to scrap the scandal-hit youth body. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NJAGI
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The fate of the corruption-ridden National Youth Service (NYS) hangs in the balance if a draft Bill proposing its scrapping and transfer of assets to the military is approved by Parliament.

Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma has drafted the National Youth Service (Amendment) draft Bill, seeking to repeal the NYS and have its resources, including its huge budget of Sh25 billion, transferred to the military and the recruits spread to other agencies such as the police and National Intelligence Service.

“The NYS recruits have paramilitary training and should be easily absorbed into the military, National Police Service and the National Intelligence Service,” he said.

The MP said the NYS has failed to “serve the public purpose for which it was established and has recently been turned into a facility for looting the public coffers”.

The NYS, a decrepit State agency under the previous administration, burst into prominence with the Jubilee government, becoming one of the best-funded bodies.

MEGA CORRUPTION

With this, it also became a conduit for mega corruption.

Policymakers raised eyebrows after the Treasury allocated Sh25 billion to the agency, which also increased massively its intake of trainees, attracting support and criticism in equal measure for helping ease youth unemployment and for its large budget respectively.

Graft scandals that have hit the NYS resulted in the resignation of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru and a host of senior officials from her ministry over the loss of Sh791 million in procurement irregularities.

The scandal piled pressure on the government over rising corruption levels, even after the NYS rolled out various projects across the country such as slum upgrading and clean-up, and providing quasi-security such as crowd control.

However, through the Bill, Mr Kaluma said some of the functions undertaken by the NYS such as road construction could be taken over by the military, as is the case in many countries.

The MP also said with an expanded budget as part of the proposal for scrapping the NYS and transferring its assets and entire budget to the Kenya Defence Forces and other security agencies, there would be increased recruitment to make up for the shortfall from the agency’s dissolution.

The Bill provides that assets be transferred within three months of its becoming law.

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