The Kenyan Government in its 2011/12 budget has said they recognize the hardship their people are going through, more so the vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the physically challenged and orphaned children.
“These are the times we must be seen to care for this group of persons,” said the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta in his budget speech that was read without the fanfare that used to mark budget reading till Kenyans voted for a new constitution last year.
In “expressing the Government’s deep care”, Mr Kenyatta said that he had allocated from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development an additional $ 4.33 million, bring to total $ 7.67 million for disabled persons; $ 31.46 million to bring under program additional 100,000 orphaned and vulnerable children; and finally additional $ 5.28 million, which scales up the allocation to $ 11.24 million for elderly persons.
The minister said the amount, which include upward adjustments of the monthly transfer to $ 22.47 was directed by Kenya’s parliament to enable them increase the current coverage by two-fold from 10 households to 20 households per constituency throughout the country.
The Government also marched forward to take care of “our brothers and sisters who were displaced when the teachers pay award agreed between the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Government was under implementation. This group of senior citizens need to be cushioned too from the current economic challenges.”
The Treasury allocated $ 37.08 million as the first disbursement of an enhanced retirement entitlement towards social protection for those teachers who were displaced, terming them a “vulnerable group.” The allocation is expected to increase the monthly pension payable to these retired teachers and thereby improve their welfare.
Similar care was extended to the vulnerable urban poor who are equally experiencing hardship arising from high commodity prices.
“Through this budget,” the minister who was reading the budget in his third consecutive year in the Finance docket said, “we want to build on a successfully piloted organic sack gardening program launched in 2008 to improve urban food security situation.”
The Ministry of Gender and Children Services was allocated a tune of $ 9.49 million to expand the piloted organic sack gardening program ten fold by providing two empty sacks, soil, pebble stones, manure and seedling of any vegetables to each household. The project is planned to cover 80,000 households in five urban slums in Nairobi, 50,000 households in three selected slums in Mombasa and 50,000 households in two slums in Kisumu.
The project aims to positively transform the lives of 650,000 households into food secured urban farmers. Kenyatta confirmed that the Government is in the process of developing a comprehensive National Social Protection Policy that will provide a framework for better targeting all categories of needy and vulnerable members of Kenyan society countrywide.
Some Kenyans were displaced from their homes due to post election violence that led to the death of nearly 1500 persons and displaced another 650,000. The need to initiate conservation of water towers, especially the Mau Complex, are yet to be settled.
“This situation must be brought to a closure to enable the remaining genuinely displaced persons to be settled in order to enable them to live in a dignified manner,” said Minister Kenyatta.
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta is a defendant in a case before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The prosecutor Mr. Moreno – Ocampo claims that Kenyatta and five others bear the greatest responsibility for post-election violence. The case is currently progressing through The Hague. The Kenyan Government has unsuccessfully appealed to have the case dismissed. Mr Kenyatta has a confirmation of charges hearing on 21st September 2011.
Earlier initiatives designed to help IDPs have seen $ 110.11 million provided but the implementation has proved wanting.
To implement the final phase of the internally displaced persons (IDP) resettlement program under an appropriate framework to be developed by the Government, Kenyatta allocated another $ 47.19 million, bringing the total amount spent on IDP resettlement to $ 157.30 million, which could have been shared to every Kenyan at $ 4.05 each.
“I expect the Ministries concerned to involve communities, civil society organization with experience in this matter and our Development Partners in this final phase to allow for closure of the issue of IDPs once and for all,” he said.