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Government to spend Sh22 billion to help vulnerable Kenyans 

The government has set aside over Sh 22.8 billion aimed at cushioning the poor citizens against severe hunger and destitution Labour &Social Protection Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amb. Ukur Yatani Tuesday said.

Yatani said Social Protection had emerged as a strong and effective tool for fighting and reducing poverty and vulnerability among the members of the society.

He was speaking as he opened the national conference on social protection at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies.

The CS said the Government had initiated various cash transfer programmes including Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer (OVCT), Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT), and Persons with Severe Disability Cash Transfer (PWSD).

Others in the programme are Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) and the recent 70 year old persons programme‘InuaJamii’ which have so far registered tremendous success by cushioning the poor citizens against severe hunger and destitution.

“I must say that I am exceedingly pleased with the growth of the Social Protection Sector in Kenya, in particular the Social Assistance pillar, that has grown rapidly in the last decade with the advent of Cash Transfer to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC) in 2004,” said Yatani.

The CS added that the introduction of Older Persons Cash Transfer Programme (OPCT) in 2007, Cash Transfer to Persons with Severe Disabilities (PWSD-CT) in 2011 and Hunger Safety Net Programme in 2008 had positively impacted on the lives of many families in Kenya.

“I wish to add that a total of 1.3 million beneficiaries were currently enrolled in these programmes while Sh 22.8 billion had been allocated for the purpose this financial year alone with a cumulative Sh. 66 billion being spent on the same in the last four years,” explained Yatani.

The CS said President Kenyatta will grace the conference on Wednesdayas a sign of government’s commitment to empower vulnerable Kenyans through social protection.

A researcher at the International Policy Centre for inclusive growth Dr. Pablo Veras Soares said there had been many myths and misconceptions that the beneficiaries of social protection use the proceeds to buy alcohol and tobacco.

Soares explained that research had shown the beneficiaries’ lives greatly improved over time especially in matters health and diet.

“I have been in Kenya for over five years and in our research we have discovered that the beneficiaries of the social protection funds use them to economically empower themselves by buying things like seeds and fertilizer which increases their farm yields,” explained Soares.

The conference has attracted delegates from across the globe with representation from countries including Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Brazil and United States of America (USA) who have come to share their experiences on social protection.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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