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Ministry seeks to halt cash transfer plan to the needy

By Mercy Mwai
Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Mobile money. Photo/File
In summary

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The National Treasury has advised the government to end the Sh10 billion cash transfer programme to the vulnerable groups as it is not sustainable.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary (CS) Samson Chelugui, in a brief to the National Assembly Labour Committee said the National Treasury advised his ministry, to focus more on the post Covid-19 economic stimulus package such as the Kazi Mtaani, to cushion citizens against job losses.

The advice comes at a time when the government has so far disbursed Sh5 billion to the affected persons to cushion them from negative effects of the pandemic.

“The National Treasury advised the ministry that the proposed cash transfer may not be necessary, as it will have short gains at a high cost, compared to the post Covid-19 Economic Stimulus Programme,” said Chelugui in the brief.

Under the programme expected to come to an end next month, the government has been regularly sending Sh1,000 to beneficiaries every Tuesday through their M-pesa service.

“So far Safaricom has disbursed over Sh 5 billion to the beneficiaries and exercise is ongoing every Tuesday.

The beneficiaries are gradually being paid up-to the end of October,  after which the ministry will prepare a comprehensive brief to this committee,” reads the brief.

In his brief, Chelugui however told the Limuru MP Peter Mwathi led committee  that the multi agency team comprising the Health, Interior and Labour ministries formed to identify the beneficiaries,  was not able to move to the field to validate the beneficiaries’ data, due to coronavirus health restrictions.

Beneficiaries data

Instead, the team depended on the chiefs, assistant chiefs, social development officers, children’s officers and officers from National Council for Persons with Disabilities to identify the beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries’ data, he says was however validated through Integrated Population Registration Service database at the National Bureau of Registration.

According to the brief, phase I registration exercise started with the four lockdown counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi where 85,300 beneficiary households were enrolled.

Phase two registration exercise covered 17 counties with a total number of benefiting households at 289,759, while registration for phase three and four was extended to 26 counties covering urban centres in each of the counties, that has seen 375,059 persons benefiting.

Frontline workers

Meanwhile, the ministry has commenced the process of establishing an Occupational Disease Fund to compensate workers who are injured in the course of duty.

Chelugui said they are planning to kick-start the fund with an initial Sh2 billion in the current financial year to compensate public sector frontline workers who may succumb or suffer permanent incapacities due to Covid 19.

Chelugui also told MPs that the ministry in support of the International Labour Organisation is undertaking a rapid assessment of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the informal sector.

The objective of the assessment is to analyse the data to determine the sectors  most affected by measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Among the major sectors hard hit by the pandemic in-terms of job losses are tourism, hospitality, education, agriculture,, manufacturing and transport especially aviation.

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