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Elderly people to gain from Sh250m from ministry

Funds have been allocated to benefit more than 10, 500 elderly persons in the country, Social Protection principal secretary has said.

Ms Susan Mochache, during her visit to Kitale, Trans Nzoia County, on Thursday, said that Sh250 million has been set aside.

She said the funds were increased in the 2016/2017 financial year to cater to the soaring number of elderly persons, who are confronted by poverty.

“We will keep increasing the funds in subsequent financial years,” she said.

However, she said not everyone will benefit due to a paucity of funds.

“Not everybody will benefit owing to budgetary constraints hence the need to prioritise needy cases.”

Rights activists in the region have said the programme is being carried out selectively.

“We want the programme to benefit all deserving individuals. We [want] the exercise to recruit beneficiaries be done a fresh,” James Omaria, executive officer of the NGO council in Trans Nzoia, said.

That notwithstanding, the PS pointed out that the national government has spent Sh80.3 billion over the last four years to cater to the needs of the elderly and other vulnerable groups under its cash transfer programme.

Ms Susan Mochache said the number of beneficiaries had also increased from 200,000 to more than 830,000 during the period.

Earlier, speaking in Kapenguria, Ms Mochache said that Sh374 million has been utilised in taking care of more than 15,000 people in West Pokot County.

STREET CHILDREN

Ms Mochache further said the programme has demonstrated the government’s commitment in improving the livelihood of vulnerable groups nationwide.

“It has been accepted as one of the best component in the fight against poverty. We expect to see more beneficiaries being brought on board in the next financial year,” she said.

She, however, observed that the initiative has also faced challenges more so during disbursement, but the problems are being addressed.

“Our intention was that the beneficiaries only travel for less than six kilometers. We have, however, come to realize that some of the beneficiaries cover more than 200kms for the service, which is wrong,” she said.

She said the success of the programme has been aided by the establishment of Huduma Centres, which have made access to services easier.

At the same time, the PS said the government is also planning to tackle the issue of street children.

“We are working closely with county governments to come up with modalities that will see us create centres to house the kids. They have a right to quality life like other Kenyans.”

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