, MURANG’A, Kenya, Feb 4 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the Jubilee Government’s expanded Cash Transfer Programme, disclosing that Sh12 billion has been allocated for the programme this financial year.
He said the programme – expected to benefit 454,000 households – must succeed, warning that no inefficiency or corruption will be tolerated. The programme targets orphans and other vulnerable children, those with severe disabilities, vulnerable elders aged over 65 years and the urban poor.
“Government officials and grassroots leaders involved must protect the public purse and ensure fairness in the identification of beneficiaries and in the administration of the funds. Any malpractice will be punished severely,” President Kenyatta said.
The President spoke during the launch of the social safety programme at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a County.
He said beneficiaries must be identified fairly and registered according to need, saying the cash must reach them regularly and at the appropriate time.
The President emphasised that favouritism, theft or delay in making payments, will not be entertained.
“As a Government, we will jealously guard these resources because this is what the people of Kenya expect of us. They have hope in us; they expect us to deliver; we will not fail them,” the President said.
To prevent duplication and ensure many of the vulnerable benefit, President Kenyatta directed the four cash transfer programmes to be consolidated. Currently, the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services runs Cash Transfer programmes for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC), Older Persons (OPCT), Persons with Severe Disability and the Urban Food Subsidy.
Having started with only 500 households 10 years ago, the President noted that the programme has grown by a multiple of 908.
“If this momentum is sustained, I can proudly say that the transformation the Jubilee Government promised the people of Kenya will be achieved not in 2030, but much earlier. Indeed, we see this happening by year 2020,” President Kenyatta said.
He affirmed his administration’s commitment to supporting the vulnerable households, saying every Kenyan deserves a decent life, despite the circumstances of birth or life.
“It is in this context that we offer vulnerable sections of our society regular and predictable cash transfers,” the President said.
The President observed that the cash transfer experience has shown that the social safety programmes change the lives of the beneficiaries and reduce poverty by meeting their basic needs.
He said the cash transfers have also helped in education, making it possible for children from vulnerable families to attend school consistently, and boost enrolment and completion.
“The children whose households have benefited return better results at end of term, end of the year and even in national examinations,” the President said.
He said the Jubilee Government is focused on making a difference in the fight against poverty.
Deputy President William Ruto said the expanded cash transfer programme will create a safety net for vulnerable Kenyans so that they are not left behind as the rest of the country moves forward.
The Deputy President said the Jubilee Government is on track in implementing the pledges it made to the people of Kenya.
“This is the fifth of the Jubilee pledges to be launched after free maternity services, police vehicles to beef up security, airport and the Standard Gauge Railway and the million acre irrigation project,” the Deputy President said.
He thanked Murang’a residents for electing their overwhelming support to the Jubilee Coalition.
The Deputy President also welcomed Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore’s offer to provide mobile handsets to all beneficiaries of the cash transfer who do not have the mobile gadgets to enable them receive the funds through the mobile platform.
Labour, Social Security and Services Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi said the Cash Transfer is a unique social assistance programme through which the Government will ensure vulnerable Kenyans are protected from the harsh effects of poverty.
The Cabinet Secretary said his Ministry has streamlined the programme to ensure it benefits the targeted groups. He said the ministry will continuously review the payment system to ensure that the delivery mechanisms are transparent, accountable and responsive to the beneficiaries.
Earlier, the President chaired a leaders meeting where he assured Murang’a residents that the Jubilee Government will address the county’s development needs including roads, irrigation and improved security.
Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura and Governor Mwangi Wa Iria thanked the President for the projects the Government has earmarked for the county for the benefit of vulnerable groups.
Governor Wa Iria said his county government will assist 2000 vulnerable elders as a way of complementing the national government’s efforts to improve the lives of Kenyans.