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Blow to graduates as MPs reject CS' sweet deal for private sector interns

MPs reject a proposal by CS Aisha Jumwa to force the private sector to pay interns and give them medical covers, leave days

Students during a past graduation ceremony

The National Assembly Committee on Labour dismissed a proposal by the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service Aisha Jumwa to help graduates and job seekers.

The proposal aimed to enforce private sector employers to hire and pay interns while offering them medical coverage and leave days.

The suggestions by the Cabinet Secretary advocated for paid internships of at least six months for university and college graduates in the private sector.

CS Jumwa, who gave her submission on the Public Service Internship Bill for 2022, argued that there is a need to have the private sector join government ministries and agencies in the mandatory remuneration of interns.

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"There is a need to consider the private sector in the bill for internship," she proposed.

The National Assembly Committee on Labour, however, strongly opposed the proposal, citing the existing financial struggles faced by the private sector.

The committee argued that imposing mandatory hiring and payment for internships would further burden businesses that are already grappling with high costs.

Compelling the private sector to take on interns and perhaps employing them permanently would create a financial burden to companies trying to stay afloat as the numbers may be unsustainable,” read the committee’s report.

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Rising taxes, coupled with stagnated or declining revenues, have forced many private sector entities to adopt cost-cutting measures like hiring staff on contracts to alleviate the pressure on expenses such as pensions.

The bill is set to be tabled in the house for adoption, dimming the future of many graduates and job seekers in the private sector.

The MPs emphasized the need for the government to play a more proactive role in creating incentives for businesses to participate in paying interns voluntarily and not being forced by law.

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