President Uhuru Kenyatta (center) Deputy President William Ruto (right) and Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore (left) at the launch of Inua Jamii Cash Programme
Beneficiaries of the of Inua Jamii Cash programme, which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta this week at the General Ihura Stadium in Murang’a County, will now be getting their monthly allowances via mobile money transfer platform powered by Safaricom.
Speaking during the launch, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said that Safaricom will be providing mobile phones for the elderly who do not own one since not everyone in the country owns a phone contrary to the assumption.
The Inua Jamii initiative is welfare fund that is meant to offer financial assistance to the vulnerable members in the society. The programme has four components: orphans and other vulnerable children’, those with severe disabilities’, vulnerable elders aged more than 65 years and the urban poor. Each beneficiary will be getting sh 20,000 an amount that is expected to increase over time in order to reflect changes in the cost of living.
The president announced that he had allocated Sh 2 billion for the expanded cash transfer programme this financial year (2013/14).
The first cash transfer programme to support the elderly and orphans in the country was launched in 2004 and it’s reported to have only benefited about 500 households then. The programme has since then grown but now with an allocation of Sh 2billion, the Inua Jamiii Programme is expected to increase this number to about 454,000 households.
In his speech, Uhuru assured Kenyans that the jubilee government is fully committed in the fight against poverty and directed that the cash transfer must reach the beneficiaries regularly and timely.
“This programme must, therefore, succeed and no inefficiency or corruption will be tolerated. 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.” Uhuru said in his speech, adding that favoritism, theft or delay in making payments, will not be entertained.
According to Labour and Social Security secretary, Kazungu Kambi , in whose docket the welfare fund falls, cash transfer projects have reduced the poverty index by 13 per cent, increased school enrolment, tamed child labour and improved food security in many households.
WILL CORRUPTION BE KEPT AT BAY?
The Inua Jamii Cash Programme is indeed a great initiative that can go a long way in boosting the welfare of many families if only corruption can be kept away from the fund, otherwise the fund will just provide yet another avenue for greedy politicians and administrations to fatten their already full pockets as poor wananchi anguish in poverty.