Recipients of the government’s welfare funds, aimed at supporting the elderly, orphans, and people with disabilities, will now be able to collect their financial aid through M-Pesa agent outlets. This move by the government seeks to alleviate the financial burden these individuals face when withdrawing funds from banks.
During the recent celebration of Jamhuri Day, President William Ruto declared a collaboration with Safaricom to facilitate this service at no cost.
“Facing challenges such as long-distance travel and high logistic expenses, beneficiaries of this social protection program will benefit from a revamped system. We’ve partnered with Safaricom to enable the collection of these funds at local M-Pesa agents,” Dr. Ruto elaborated.
The President mentioned that while orphans and disabled persons can start utilizing this service from this month, the elderly will have access from the following January. This phased implementation allows for the integration of necessary processes.
Praising Safaricom’s contribution, the President acknowledged the company’s commitment to providing this service free of charge, showing corporate responsibility.
Additionally, the President highlighted an increase in the budget for the cash transfer program by Sh2 billion. This extra funding is for new participants who are currently in the verification process, with the expectation to start disbursements by next March.
The social protection fund, initiated in 2015 by the former President Uhuru Kenyatta, provides a monthly stipend of Sh2,000 to each beneficiary to help mitigate the effects of poverty and hunger.
Recent data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, as per the Demographic Health Survey of July, indicated that 18.9% of households depend on this welfare program or similar aid for their livelihood. This statistic underscores the significant reliance on government aid, as well as support from family and friends.
The report also pointed out that only 4% of the senior population relies on these social programs, with 19.7% of rural and 12.6% of urban households depending on such assistance.
These insights come at a time when Kenya faces economic challenges, including a high unemployment rate, which was reported at 13.9% last December. At that point, the number of unemployed individuals in Kenya rose by 2.94% to 2.97 million from 2.89 million three months prior.
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