MOSTLY THE ELDERLY

350,000 locked out of Inua Jamii programme

CS Chelugui says ministry has not updated beneficiaries register for four years

In Summary

• The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has not updated the beneficiaries’ register for four years.

• Inua Jamii is a cash transfer programme targeting those aged 70 and above started by the President to cushion the vulnerable.

Labour CS Simon Chelugui
Labour CS Simon Chelugui
Image: COURTESY

At least 350,000 elderly people have been locked out the state’s monthly stipend due to Labour and Social Protection ministry's failure to update the beneficiaries' register.

The ministry, led by CS Simon Chelugui, has not updated the register for four years, effectively locking out thousands of eligible beneficiaries from the Inua Jamii payment.

The disclosure is in the sixth report of the Senate ad hoc committee on Covid-19 situation in the country.

Chelugui handed over the report on how the ministry was cushioning vulnerable groups during the coronavirus pandemic to the committee chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.

“Some 350,000 Kenyans who are eligible to be paid under this programme have not been captured since the register being used is about three or four years old and needs to be updated,” Chelugui said.

Inua Jamii, a social assistance (cash transfer) programme targeting those aged 70 years and above, was initiated by the President to cushion the elderly.

The beneficiaries receive payments through contracted Payment Service Providers including Co-operative Bank, Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank and Postbank.

But with the latest development, the thousands of eligible lot will be languishing in poverty – a situation made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Approximately 350,000 persons especially the older persons eligible to benefit from the Inua Jamii Programme were not benefiting due to lack of prompt updating of the register,” the report says.

In the report, the committee recommended to the Ministry to promptly update the register to bring those eligible on board to insulate them from the adverse economic effects of the virus.

The committee also recommended that the ministry liaises with that of Interior and carry out capacity building of the elderly with the aim of remitting the funds via mobile platforms.

“The mode of transmission of money to the older persons registered under the Inua Jamii programme requires physical presence which may expose them to infectious diseases due to their vulnerability, especially during this pandemic season,” the committee said.

Chelugui said the ministry had received Sh8.75 billion to benefit 1,094,238 vulnerable Kenyans.

As of April 20, older persons had begun to be paid through Co-operative Bank, Postbank, KCB and Equity Bank.

“A total of Sh8,000 will be paid per beneficiary covering January to April,” the report says.

An additional 293,967 beneficiaries enrolled under orphans and vulnerable children will receive Sh2.35 billion while 766,254  enrolled under older persons will receive Sh6.13 billion.

Some 34,000 enrolled under persons with severe disability will get Sh272.14 million.

The ministry has received another Sh10 billion to support the vulnerable as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The National Treasury had communicated to the ministry the release of the Sh10 billion, CS said.

“The Ministry of Labour together with a multi-agency team consisting of the ministry, NGAO and Ministry of Health, are developing a criteria and mapping out vulnerable persons in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi to distribute the cash to ease the economic burden,” the report says.

Some Sh34 million is for the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund to support institutions in 14 counties to accommodate the urchins.

The ministry has developed the Covid-19 pandemic emergency workplace guidelines that among others allow employers and employees to jointly review the terms of the employment contract in writing to suit the prevailing circumstances of business.

 

- mwaniki fm