EASTER MONEY

Kazi Mtaani workers paid Sh666.2m after brief delay

Programme to improve informal settlements, public areas extended in March after youth said they would be adrift without it.

In Summary

• PS Hinga said funds were delayed for only two days due to administrative issues.

•Kazi Mtaani was extended last month by the President after beneficiaries countrywide pleaded for more work and pay during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Youths from Nairobi's Kibera Katwekera take part in the Kazi Mtaani programme to clean up informal settlements on July 16.
COVID CLEAN-UP: Youths from Nairobi's Kibera Katwekera take part in the Kazi Mtaani programme to clean up informal settlements on July 16.
Image: MERCY MUMO

Kazi Mtaani workers have been paid in time for Easter.

The government has paid Sh666.23 million to 134,897 cohort A workers of Kazi Mtaani, the national hygiene programme for informal settlements. 

Payment had been delayed for two days, a long time without money, especially in a slum.

About 280,000 youths from informal settlements are employed countrywide.

The popular programme started in July last year. It was extended in March after the pleading of beneficiaries but the duration was not established. It was to end on March 4.

“Confirming today we’ve paid funds due to cohort A after two days delay,” PS Charles Hinga of the State Department of Housing and Urban Development said on Wednesday.

Some 134,542 beneficiaries’ details matched M-Pesa accounts and received Sh664.52 million. Another 10 who were not registered got Sh48,685.

Two people with pending active status on M-Pesa received Sh10,010 while 11 with suspended M-Pesa accounts got Sh55,055 and 50 who are not active got Sh250.29 million.

Some 282 whose details were mismatched received Sh1.37 million.

Housing and Urban Planning PS Charles Hinga.
Housing and Urban Planning PS Charles Hinga.
Image: FILE

Beneficiaries operate in two shifts, each working 11 days a month. They earn Sh455 per day.

The programme employs 283,210 youths as workers and supervisors for 11 days every month. They work in two shifts and earn Sh455 daily while supervisors take home Sh505 per day.

The government has said more than Sh700 million is injected into the grassroots economy every two weeks to help people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hinga told the Star the funds had been delayed for only two days due to administrative issues that had been sorted.

Last month the National Treasury allocated an additional Sh7 billion for the Kazi Mtaani programme to pay thousands of youth and scale up the initiative to cover the Affordable Housing Project.

The supplementary budget tabled in Parliament allocated Sh1 billion to pay youths who have gone without pay or received partial payments since last year.

It said Sh6 billion is for consolidation of the Kazi Mtaani programme under the Department for Housing and Urban Development.

“This programme has had the desired impact of shoring up families in informal settlements whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic,” Hinga said

Many young men and women had said their lives were at stake if the programme were to end as they depended solely on it to support themselves and their families. Without it, they would be jobless.

Some said the programme had kept them away from drugs, alcohol and petty crime.

Payment is via M-Pesa after Safaricom waived the recovery of Fuliza loans to save indebted youths from the automatic recovery of loans from their earnings.

Hinga said the M-Pesa payments ensure transparency and accountability. 

The programme employs people aged 18 to 35 years. They build access roads in slums, clear drainage, plant trees, collect garbage, repair and paint buildings, among other tasks.

Phase One was started by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year as an economic stimulus to help unemployed young people suffering during the pandemic.

Phase Two was launched in July, focusing on sustainable work in public spaces such as schools, libraries, toilets, footpaths, painting and paving roads with cobblestones.

The programme, which is generally praised, has also been criticised for late payments, mismatch of workers; details and alleged favouritism in selecting beneficiaries.

(Edited by V. Graham)