The Star (Nairobi)

3 February 2014

Kenya: Cash Transfer Should Benefit Deserving Poor

editorial

THE Cabinet Secretary for Labour and Social Services Kazungu Kambi has announced the launch of a cash transfer programme that aims to reduce poverty levels among the poorest households in Kenya.

Each will receive a stipend of Sh2,000 per month under the programmes to be unveiled by President Uhuru Kenya tomorrow. The targeted group is composed of the elderly, persons with severe disabilities, and vulnerable children such as orphans. But as is the case with free cash transfers, dangers abound.

First is the possibility of non-deserving cases benefiting, at the expense of the truly needy cases. There is also the problem of reaching deserving cases in remote areas, and those whose lifestyles involve constant movement from one area to another in search of food and pasture.

There is also the problem of government bureaucrats skimming off part of the money to line their pockets, using fictitious names of beneficiaries. Giving free money to citizens is not sustainable. What is needed is to improve local economies to allow people earn money. However, because this is a project the government has decided to implement, it should be done properly.

The President should ensure that the Sh4 billion allocated this financial year alone for the programme reaches the intended beneficiaries. He should warn against misappropriation of the fund, and ensure fairness in distribution of the money to reach all areas proportionately.

Quote of the day: "A conservative is a man who thinks and sits, mostly sits." - US President Woodrow Wilson died on February 3, 1924

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