New Treasury Proposal Shows Ajira Program wasn’t About Creating Jobs

ajira digital
credit PPS

Kenya’s Ministry of ICT in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender affairs launched the Ajira Digital Program in 2016. This program was aimed to introduce young people to online work where they could get training and mentorship as well as earn income from the online work.

They were targeting one million Kenyans in one year and it was a great initiative by the government to solve the job crisis in the country.

However, the government now has new plans for the program and it was highlighted quite well today during the budget reading.

The Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury & Planning, Mr Henry Rotich presented the budget for 2019-2020 today where he proposed his plans for the Ajira Digital Program.

This is the quote in full:

“Mr. Speaker, the Government through the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology in Partnership with Academia, Civil Society and the Private Sector has set up a program known as “Ajira Digital Program” whose aim is to bridge the gap between skills available and skills demand. A major objective of the program is to enable over one million youths annually to be engaged as digital freelance workers. In order to provide stability for the youth engaged in this program, the Government has proposed that the youth registered in the program pay a registration fee of ten thousand Kenya shillings for the next three years in lieu of income tax with effect from 1st January 2020. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, I propose to amend the Income Tax Act in order to exempt registered members from regular taxation for the specified period.”

The government is planning to charge these digital freelance workers a registration fee of Kshs 10,000 for the next three years instead of them paying income tax.

According to the government, this registration fee will be paid to the Ajira Fund so that “the yough-oriented program will be financed for the benefit of our young people who need to be engaged in tangible programs.” The government will set aside Kshs 1 billion as seed capital for the Fund.

This move by the government will sure ruffle some feathers and we shall wait to see how it will be received by the stakeholders.


  1. Sad reality! Ajira digital began on a wrong footing and even before any meaningful progress can be seen or felt, they’re already plotting to tax freelancers. I hope they can begin taxing those that have benefited from Ajira, so that we can see just how much progress has been made. Otherwise this is yet another wrong approach which is meant to fail terribly. You cannot tax jobless youths!

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