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Universal social welfare for those over 70 meant to foster inclusivity – PS

President Uhuru Kenyatta listens to an elderly woman who lives in an IDP camp during the launch of the cash payment program/PSCU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – The Principal Secretary for Social Protection, Susan Mochache says the redesigning of the social security programme for the elderly is being done to foster inclusivity.

Mochache says this is the reasoning behind the decision to provide a universal stipend to all who are over 70 and not under a pension scheme, beginning January next year.

She says the current scheme where those who are over 65 and extremely vulnerable are targeted has in some instances engendered a feeling of bias.

“You hear speculation that beneficiaries must be close to the chief for instance.”

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on Thursday afternoon earned himself a foot stamping of approval when he made the proposal; an approval which was later elucidated by a section of MPs outside the chamber including by Budalang’i’s Ababu Namwamba among others.

“Mr Speaker, given the experience of the cash transfer programme to the elderly, the government has decided to enhance coverage of the cash transfer programme to fully support all old persons above the age of 70 years. I therefore, propose that beginning January 2018, all persons above the age of 70 years will receive a cash transfer in the form of a monthly stipend and NHIF cover that will be paid by the Government,” Rotich announced.

Mochache says those who qualify for the welfare support will be required to register using their IDs at their respective social development offices before being sent on to the bank where their biometrics will be captured for all future Sh2,000 deposits.

She however says that there will be a review of the payment processes for the programme which targets 240,000 of the 390,000 Kenyan citizens over 70 years of age and which is budgeted to receive Sh7.9 billion in the 2017/18 financial year up from Sh7.4 billion.

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