Economy

Treasury CS puts a smile on poor with Sh15.8bn allocation

Poor households will benefit from an improved allocation of Sh15.8 billion in the coming financial year, extending support to vulnerable groups such as orphans, the elderly and those with extreme disabilities.

The money is an increase from last year’s allocation of Sh13.4 billion. The programme is managed in collaboration with the World Bank and Unicef.

Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said Sh7.2 billion will go into cash transfers for orphaned and vulnerable children, Sh4.9 billion to poor older persons and Sh800 million to the extremely handicapped.

The Child Welfare Society will receive Sh800 million while Sh400 million from the Budget will go to the Presidential Secondary School Bursary Scheme for orphans, poor and bright students.

The extremely poor people were allocated Sh800 million and another Sh500 million was given for other social safety nets. Resettlement of the poor will cost Sh600 million.

The cash transfer programme has been in place since it was launched by Unicef in 2004. In the past ten years, the government and other donors have joined as contributors.

Last September, the World Bank lent the Treasury Sh22 billion ($250 million) for the transfers to the poor targeting 1.65 million people in 300,000 households.

READ: Treasury gets World Bank boost for cash transfers

The Budget Statement did not feature an urban food subsidy that was last year allotted Sh356 million and one for albinos that got Sh100 million.

In Rwanda, the government cash transfer programme has been a major factor in cutting poverty to 45 per cent as at 2011 compared to 57 per cent in 2006. The project supports 500,000 people annually.

In Kenya, the proportion of the poor stands at 42 per cent, but those living in extreme poverty were estimated to be 20 per cent of the population or 8.6 million people.

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