James Momanyi @jamomanyi
Despite the positive impact on the lives of many beneficiaries, opinion is divided on whether the Inua Jamii social protection programme is effective enough and sustainable in the long run.
Considering that some developed countries spend at least 14 per cent of their GDP on social protection, the 0.3 per cent of the GDP that Kenya spends on such programmes might appear like drop in the ocean.
But according to Stephanie Onchwati, an investment expert at Cytonn Investment, the Sh4,000 that beneficiaries receive every two months has the potential of helping to slightly improve their standards of living, if the money is well utilised.
“However, simply sending the beneficiaries money on a regular basis is not enough to make an impact on their lives. A more sustainable and self-sustaining source of income would make more impact,” she says.
She adds: “Setting up small scale industries where the portion of the beneficiaries that can still work can earn a steady and permanent income might be a better avenue to invest in.”
Principal Secretary at the State Department for Social Protection Susan Mochache observes that Kenya has been increasing its allocation from 0.1 per cent of the GDP when the programme started to the current 0.3 per cent.
The government is also currently engaging various stakeholders and partners to develop sustainable ways of financing social protection, as is the case in developed countries where sovereign funds and other mechanisms have been created, without injection of additional funds from the government coffers.
“We are also working towards having a complimentary system to the cash transfers because the cash transfers should not just be about the cash. We are building other programmes with other ministries and partners so that cash transfer is more of a complimentary initiative. We are redesigning the programme to give it more impetus,” says the PS.