Economy

MPs scuttle bid to repeal social safety net law

mps

MPs during a session at Parliament chambers. PHOTO | FILE

edwinmutai_img

Summary

  • Parliament has shot down attempts to repeal a law that is intended to ensure the State provide food, shelter, clothing and other utilities to vulnerable persons.
  • The National Assembly unanimously threw out the Social Assistance (Repeal) Bill, 2020 which sought to scrap the Social Assistance Act, 2013.

Parliament has shot down attempts to repeal a law that is intended to ensure the State provide food, shelter, clothing and other utilities to vulnerable persons.

The National Assembly unanimously threw out the Social Assistance (Repeal) Bill, 2020 which sought to scrap the Social Assistance Act, 2013.

The Act extends State financial assistance to the poor to include payment for special needs, care in residential institutions, travel and transportation expenses, funeral and burial expenses and health care service.

A repeal of the Act would mean that the Treasury starts afresh the process of enacting a mechanism for advancing financial assistance to the poor and vulnerable members of society.

The Bill sought to repeal the law to pave the way for the creation of a Social Assistance Fund under the Public Finance Management Act, 2012.

The Social Assistance Act was signed into law by the President in 2013 but has not been implemenetd nine years down the line.

The law was meant to cover orphans and vulnerable children, poor elderly persons, unemployed persons and persons disabled by acute chronic illnesses and widows and widowers.

The current Act extends emergency assistance to beneficiaries for a period not exceeding one month, short term assistance for less than four consecutive months, long term assistance for four or more consecutive months or special assistance as may be prescribed under regulations.

“A person is entitled to social assistance if the person is a person in need, is a Kenyan citizen, and complies with any requirement prescribed in Regulations by the Cabinet Secretary,” the Act states.