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State tightens loopholes in cash transfer scheme

Zachary Ochuodho @zachuodho

The government has adopted new tough measures to streamline the provision of social safety net for the poor and senior citizens.

Beneficiaries of the national safety net programme will from November 26 to December 22 be required to open new bank accounts – after undergoing stringent vetting – in the new effort to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the service delivery.

The government is, for instance, rolling out a new Inua Jamii payment model known as “Choice Model” targeting 710,000 beneficiaries who have been receiving cash transfer stipends. The move will see beneficiaries transition from the current card-based model to an account-based one.

According to new guidelines released by Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the opening of new bank account entails stringent validation process requiring, among others, that the beneficiaries and caregivers come to the mobilisation centre during the exercise.

All beneficiaries will have to open accounts in either KCB Bank, Post Bank, Equity Bank or Co-operative Bank. Before the bank account is opened for the beneficiary, the bank will have to confirm that the beneficiary has not opened an account, obtained copies of the beneficiary Identity Card and documented their bio-data, ensure the details are validated against the checklist provided, take a photo of the beneficiary and capture all the fingerprints.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani said the new payment solution is about protecting vulnerable members of the society, inclusion, change and development.

“Each county has its unique characteristics which cannot be replicated and therefore must ensure that those who serve the people do everything to deliver the services efficiently,” he said.

Card-based model

Yatani was speaking during an introduction to Kenya’s National Safety Net Programme forum at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi yesterday. He said officers serving the group will have to be empowered to work effectively, to read from the same script and to no longer tolerate the use of the old card-based model to access their payments as it will have been phased out.

Kenya’s National Safety Net Programme includes the hunger safety net plan, urban food subsidy, and the disabled’s cash transfers.

Other groups covered are orphans and vulnerable children and older persons. The funds usually cushion families from the impact of economic shocks, natural disasters and other crises.

Yatani said the government disburses about Sh30 billion every year as stipends to the cash transfer programme for 353,000 orphans and vulnerable children, 310,000 older persons cash transfer of 65-69 years and 47,000 persons with severe disabilities cash transfer.

Nelson Marwa, Principal Secretary, Social Protection, Pension and Senior Citizens Affairs State Department said the department must walk the talk by serving the public diligently and effectively.

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