Youth in Lamu have been urged to stop being choosy on the kind of jobs being offered in the ongoing construction of the new Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project.
The project is being undertaken by the national government at Kililana village in Lamu West.
Construction of the first three berths at the port is already over 60 percent complete with the first berth expected to be ready by June this year.
Speaking to the Nation on Sunday, County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri dismissed claims that the local youth are being side-lined in employment in the various mega projects being undertaken by the national government in the region.
Among the projects include the Lamu Port at Kililana as well as the ongoing construction of the Sh10.8 billion Lamu-Garsen road.
A recent report by the office of Public Works indicates that out of the 1,200 youth who are currently taking part in the ongoing construction works at the Lapsset, only 50 are from Lamu Island while the rest are from other places like Mpeketoni, Hindi, Witu and other counties including Kilifi, Mombasa and Kwale.
The move was attributed to the fact that many youth in the region are unwilling to work at the port, with others complaining of low pay, long working hours and the hard work involved.
Last week, residents expressed anger over the report of local youth shying away from the Lapsset jobs, terming it as the government’s excuse and failure to involve them right from the beginning during consultations and decision making on the port project.
The locals also accused the government of failure to advertise the Lapsset jobs in good time, saying this would have informed the Lamu youth and enabled them seek employment at the port.
But Mr Kanyiri insisted on the need for locals to be responsible enough by rising to the occasion and seeking employment at the Lapsset project “instead of waiting for the jobs at their doorsteps”.
“I want to make it clear that neither the government nor the contractors of national government projects being undertaken here in Lamu have any intention to side-line the local youth on matters employment in those projects. We don’t mind about your religion, tribe or even the region you’re coming from. Provided you [present] yourself to seek employment at the Lamu port or any other places where projects are being undertaken, you will get employed provided vacancies are there,” said Mr Kanyiri.
On the concerns of low pay, Mr Kanyiri said the contractors are paying the labourers according to the minimum wage guidelines provided by the government.
He called on leaders from the region to cooperate with the national government and organise meetings to help to enlighten the residents on the various issues affecting them.
He also advised parents to educate their children in order to enable them get employed at the port once it commences full operations.
“The various propjets being undertaken in Lamu will open the region to mega economic, trade and industrial investments. We should therefore be educated and be prepared to take up such jobs or else people from outside and who are qualified will be employed,” said Mr Kanyiri.