Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has decried failure of Kenyan health workers to pass English language tests required for UK jobs.
Jobless Kenyan nurses and other health workers recently got a chance to work in the UK as part of a new scheme requested by Kenya this year.
The unemployed health workers were meant to serve in the UK’s National Health Service before returning to work in Kenya.
The deal is similar to the one made by Kenya and Cuba, which saw the government get 100 Cuban doctors, with the Cuban government getting a cut.
But CS Kagwe revealed Wednesday that only a minority of those who applied qualified for the jobs.
“Out of 300 health workers sent for an English language test only 10 passed. We had negotiated for clinical workers for job exports but this turn of events is unfortunate,” he said.
He then urged health workers to work hard to pass the employment standards set for jobs abroad.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe attends the 23rd Kenya Clinical Officers Association Annual Scientific Conference at Pride Inn Paradise Hotel in Shanzu, Mombasa County on October 27, 2021.
Speaking during the Kenya Clinical Officers Association scientific conference in Mombasa, the CS said that despite this, the government will continue to negotiate for Kenyan health workers to work in Europe and the Middle East.
He also refuted claims that the government has resorted to exporting its labour workforce abroad instead of employing them.
“This is a rumour. Geographical boundaries will not stop us from working. Countries we are exporting health workers to are not doing us a favour. We are helping them when they are in need,” he said.
He added that Kenya will continue to help people get jobs in Europe and the Middle East.
“But to have this, we will need to have a universal standard. Failure in English among our health workers sent to work in England is extremely high. Let’s prepare ourselves, let us set the standards. Issue of quality training is crucial,” he said.
He further called for technology training for health workers too since many destination countries have gone paperless.
The deal between Kenya and the UK was good news for the more than 30,000 jobless Kenyan nurses and healthcare workers, and came barely six months after the UK allowed skilled Kenyans without degrees to apply for work permits in Britain under post-Brexit immigration rules. – nation.africa.
The Central bank of Kenya, Nairobi.
The shilling on Tuesday hit a 10-month low against the dollar, signalling higher cost of imported goods and inflation.
Commercial banks quoted the local currency at an average of 111.12 units against the greenback Tuesday, weakening further from 109.21 units at the start of the year.
This means importers will spend more on consumer and capital goods such as machinery and fuel, piling up input costs in a country that largely depends on shipped products.
Major imports include cars, medicine, and pharmaceuticals products, plastics, electronics clothing, and shoes.
Economist Tony Watima said the depreciation is a result of an artificial shortage of dollars accompanied by global demand for goods.
The shilling has this year been largely cushioned by inflows from external loans from lenders such as the IMF and the World Bank, a Eurobond issued in June, and higher inflows from diaspora remittances and agriculture exports.
“We had high reserves from IMF facility and Eurobond, but they have dwindled partially due to repayment of loan obligations and the issue of dividends from companies such as Safaricom,” said Mr Watima.
“The high demand for dollars and declining reserves are forcing banks to hold on dollars because they are not sure how CBK will react to it and handle reserves issue.”
He added that the CBK’s dollar sales in the open market had been reduced while banks had been forced to use their deposits, prompting them to set a higher margin.
Foreign exchange reserves have been declining in the last six weeks to stand at Sh1.02 trillion currently.
‘’The usable foreign exchange reserves remained adequate at $9.228 billion 5.64 months of import cover as at October 21. This meets the CBK’s statutory requirement to endeavour to maintain at least four months of import cover, and the EAC region’s convergence criteria of 4.5 months of import cover,” said the central bank in its weekly bulletin last Friday.
The depreciating shilling threatens to pile fresh pressure on fuel prices, which have stoked public anger.
Last month, Kenyans were spared from the rising prices when State House intervened and directed the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) to reduce the price of super petrol and diesel by Sh5 and that kerosene by Sh7.28 per litre despite an increase in the landed cost of the fuel.
Petrol is retailing at Sh129.72 per litre, diesel at Sh110.6, and kerosene at Sh103.54.
The products would be retailing at Sh136.34, Sh118.01, and 108.54 per litre respectively, were it not for the intervention.
Crude oil prices increased by 1.6 percent to $73.50 per barrel in September from Sh72.34 in August. The weaker shilling translates to an even higher hit on consumer pockets in Kenya.
The continued pressure follows increasing dollar earnings from exports and tourism unmatched by the demand from importers.
Latest data shows the import bill has been increasing since April to Sh172.95 billion in August, a 26 percent jump compared to Sh137.77 billion in the same period last year, dropping marginally compared to Sh177.16 billion in the previous month.
Export earnings rose by 13 percent over the period to Sh61.34 billion compared to Sh54.16 billion.
Tourism is slowly recovering, with international arrivals now making up 20 percent of hotel accommodation. – businessdailyafrica.com
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