Azimio calls for doubling of Inua Jamii programme billions

National Assembly Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Opposition has called for doubling of the Inua Jamii programme billions just days after President William Ruto's administration released Sh8.5b to over one million beneficiaries of the fund.

It is also pushing for a review of taxes set to take effect this year including that on music and popular streaming sites. Last week, the Government announced that it had dolled out Sh8.5b to the Inua Jamii programme also known as "pesa za wazee" to cover July to October arrears.

National Assembly Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi has, however, said the same is yet to be actualised and the beneficiaries - Kenyans aged 70 and above - are yet to receive the funds.

"We have noted that the disbursement announced on Wednesday does not cater for the months of November and December 2022. We, therefore, demand that the disbursement for November and December also be released urgently," said Opiyo.

Citing the high cost of living, the Minority Leader demanded that the current allocation of Sh2,000 per person be doubled to Sh4,000 and progressively scaled up to at least Sh6,000 a month.

"We won't let go of this demand. The value of the Kenyan shilling has degenerated significantly in recent years while the cost of goods has gone up. Let us respect our poor citizens by giving them stipends that can buy real goods at existing market rates," he said.

"As the Government releases these social protection funds, we continue demanding that similar cushioning of the vulnerable be extended particularly in the education sector. The education subsidy that saw parents save as much as Sh10,000 per year needs to be continued," he added.

The Inua Jamii cash transfer programme has in recent past created political fodder for the "warring" Azimio la Umoja coalition and the Kenya Kwanza Alliance government. The former had accused the latter of halting the program shortly after assuming office.