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State increases Inua Jamii funds to Sh3.86 billion

 Elderly queuing for Inua Jamii programme funds in Kinangop, Nyandarua. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Budgetary allocation for the elderly, people with severe disabilities, orphans, and vulnerable children under the Inua Jamii programme allocation has been increased.

The latest statistics from the 2023/24 Economic Survey report reveal an increase in disbursements for social protection programmes from Sh2.17 billion in the 2022/23 financial to Sh3.86 billion in the 2023/24 fiscal year.

The increase is in line with the government’s plan to increase the number of beneficiaries in the Inua Jamii programme particularly targeting the elderly and persons with severe disabilities (PWSD).

The allocation for the group represents an increase of 9.8 per cent and 11.4 per cent respectively.

So far, over 1.9 million beneficiaries have been enrolled in the cash transfer programme.

This increase translated into a rise in the number of beneficiaries by 7.7 per cent for the elderly and 16.5 per cent for PWSD.

The number of households expected to receive assistance is also projected to increase by more than 600 households to 1,246,000 in 2023/24.

Initially, Social Protection and Senior Citizens Affairs Principal Secretary Joseph Motari had indicated that the government has developed a strategy to progressively increase the number of the elderly to benefit from the programme to cushion them against shocks and to live a dignified life.

Motari said the ministry is in the process of developing an older person's Bill that comprehensively seeks to promote and protect the rights of the elderly.

However, the report showed a decline in disbursements for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs).

The cash transfer for this group decreased by 1.3 per cent and the number of beneficiaries dropped by 3 per cent.

This decline however raises questions about the government's plan to implement the Care Reform Strategy that seeks to remove orphans and vulnerable children from children's institutions and reunite them with families and communities.

The Hunger Safety Net Programme, another critical social protection initiative, is set to disburse Sh4.2 billion in the 2023/24 fiscal year, up from Sh4.1 billion the previous year.

The number of beneficiaries is projected to increase with an additional 500 women and 137 men, bringing the total to 86,600 women and 37,900 men.

Despite these positive developments, the overall benefits paid out and transfers saw a reduction.

Benefits decreased by 3.2 per cent to Sh101.3 billion and transfers out fell by 3.4 per cent to Sh7.1 billion in 2023. Transfers into social protection programmes increased by 5.5 per cent to Sh18.2 billion in the same period.

The pension schemes also experienced growth, with membership rising by 11.9 per cent from approximately 6.7 million in 2022 to 7.5 million in 2023 indicating a strengthening of the social safety net and a broader inclusion of individuals in retirement planning.

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