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More cash for elderly and youth in budget

NEWS
By Peter Theuri | January 27th 2021

Senior citizens queue for their monthly stipend at the Matungu-Sub-county headquarters in Kakamega County. Beneficiaries receive on average Sh2,000 monthly. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

People aged 70 and above left out of past government cash disbursement programmes will now be considered in this year’s Sh3 trillion budget.

The National Treasury has at the same time come up with a social assistance fund to mobilise more resources to fund such programmes.

“(The ministry is) cognizant that elderly left out from the programme are affected, especially during difficult times of Covid-19,” says Treasury in the draft 2021 Budget Policy Statement.

“There are 1.1 million Kenyans on the payroll and about 250,000 who are out of the payroll. There are plans to enhance the programme to be universal and include all the elderly who are to be taken on board automatically when they hit 70 years.” 

Treasury will also seek the implementation of policies and programmes under each pillar of the Big Four agenda to accelerate sustainable growth, create opportunities for decent jobs and reduce poverty and income inequality in the country. “It will further ensure that we create a healthy and food secure society in which Kenyans have access to affordable and decent housing,” says Treasury in the spending plan for the upcoming 2021-22 financial year.

Treasury has also pledged support for the youth, women and persons with disability to enable them to actively contribute to the economic recovery agenda. The government will at the same time carry out deliberate outreach programmes in marginalised counties to scale up youth involvement in gainful economic activities.

They will also be roped into tree planting programmes aimed at improving the country’s forest cover.

“The Ministry of Environment has also developed a portal for registration of youth, women and other community-based organisations who can produce seedlings in order to be certified to produce seedlings.” 

Treasury has also prioritised the affordable housing agenda under the Big Four, especially in urban areas where two-thirds of the population lives in informal settlements.

“The provision of affordable housing remains a key challenge in Kenya, with over 90 per cent of people in the urban areas living in rented houses and spend up to 40 per cent of their income on rent...,” notes Treasury in the draft budget statement.

“The government through the Affordable Housing Programme pillar is prioritising the social housing programme in order to address these challenges and contain the proliferation of slums in the urban cities.”

The budget statement says the National Housing Development Fund continues to mobilise resources to fund the housing projects in Mavoko and National Housing Corporation Stoni Athi, which are at various stages of completion as part of the affordable housing programme.

“This is happening at a time when investors have already identified land to put up 370,000, 31 units in Kibera Soweto East Zone B, Mariguini Informal Settlement and Starehe.”

And to address the limited access to housing finance, Treasury said the government has concluded the successful incorporation and capitalisation of the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Corporation.

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