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SPEECH BY MRS. PHYLLIS J.KANDIE EGH, CABINET SECRETARY FOR MINISTRY OF EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY, LABOUR AND SOCIAL PROTECTION, DURING THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE SINGLE REGISTRY FOR NATIONAL SOCIAL PROTECTION PROGRAMMES, AT KICC

Principal Secretary for Social Protection
Representatives of UNICEF, World Bank, DFID, WFP, FSD-KENYA and other development partners
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour and privilege for me to sincerely welcome you all to the launch of the Single Registry for the National Social Protection Programmes. Thank you, for creating time to join us.

Ladies and Gentlemen
Today is a momentous occasion in the implementation of Social Protection Programmes in the country as we launch a system which is a critical milestone to the delivery of social protection programmes in Kenya. The Ministry has just completed the first phase of the Single Registry a journey which we began in 2011 when we started strengthening Management Information Systems within the Cash Transfers for Ophaned and Vulnerable Children, Older Persons, Persons with Severe Disabilities and Hunger Safety net Programme which were then to feed into the Single Registry. A link to the Integrated Population Registration Service was also established to validate beneficiary National IDs with the Population Data base.

The Single Registry is an important pillar that enables us to consolidate, store, and share data and information across the various programmes. The launch of the system is therefore a step in the right direction in the implementation of the social protection programmes.

Currently, the Single Registry holds information on the four cash transfer programmes namely:
• Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children;
• Older Persons Cash Transfer;
• Persons with Severe Disabilities Cash Transfer;
• Hunger Safety Net Programme

The World Food Progamme has also recently connected to the Single Registry the Cash for Assets Programme which they are implementing in Kitui, Makueni, Taita Taveta and Kilifi.

As you may be aware, the cash transfer programmes for the vulnerable groups in our country have been implemented in a fragmented manner by different government agencies and partners. This has often resulted in duplication of efforts, wastage of resources, and other inefficiencies which have reduced the effectiveness of the programmes. One of the main challenges that has been experienced is the double dipping, where beneficiaries would be able to receive payments from two or more programmes. This is contrary to the government policy of the programmes, which seek to widen the inclusion to as many vulnerable persons as possible by avoiding double registration of households to different programmes.

The Single Registry therefore provide a common platform for implementers to cross-check data on beneficiaries, through the linkage to the Integrated Population Registration Services (IPRS). Such validation with the IPRS also eliminate multiple registrations of beneficiaries into the programmes

The Single Registry system will further be a source of accurate, reliable and timely data on the social protection status in the country, which will facilitate a strong basis for evidence-based policy formulation, planning and decision-making.

Ladies and Gentlemen

This robust facility will help deliver on the Government’s long-term goal of improving the livelihoods of all poor and vulnerable persons in the country. It is indeed another clear statement of the Government’s commitment to employing ICT for improved service delivery to the people of Kenya.

Ladies and Gentlemen, evidence from impact evaluations done locally and internationally show that cash transfer programmes have enhanced household purchasing power, increased Savings and Investments among the beneficiary households who will acquire assets like livestock, chicken as a result of the cash transfers. There is also evidence of reduction in poverty levels among the beneficiary households. There has also been increase in food expenditure and dietary diversity. The nutritional status of the children has improved with the support provided to the households with reduction in frequent illnesses of the children and other family members. Local economy becomes vibrant during payment days and there has been reduction in child labour among the benefitting households.

It is for this reason that the government has increased funding for the cash transfers from 7.9 billion to 21.2 billion. Cummulatatively, the government has allocated 80.5 billion in the last 4 years. This has enabled us to increase beneficiary households from 295,023 before Jubilee Government to the current 832,408 households who are benefiting from the cash transfers.

To cater for the health needs of older persons who are poor and vulnerable the government has also allocated funding to provide a health cover for older persons benefiting from the cash transfer programme. Currently, 245,853 older persons receiving cash transfers have NHIF cover fully funded by the government. This reduces the heavy burden of beneficiaries using their cash stipends for medical expenses.

Ladies and Gentlemen

To increase accountability and efficiency in the running of the cash transfers, the Ministry has established a system to enable beneficiaries and citizens to appeal against decisions, lodge complains and provide general feed back to programme implementers with a view of improving programme performance in the cash transfers. A toll free line 1533 which is fully resourced is now operational. Beneficiary welfare committees and rights committees for the Hunger Safety Net Programme have also been established to receive and address complains at the local level.

Additionally, the Ministry has initiated E-Solutions that strengthen social accountability of the cash transfer programmes and other social protection programmes by establishing the Single Registry which we are launching today. Members of the public can access information on the cash transfers which ensures accountability and transparency.

In recognition that social protection is cross cutting with programmes implemented by state agencies and partners the Single Registry being launched today will harmonise and consolidate information on the cash transfers in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering these programmes. Indeed this is in line with the Government’s commitment of improving service delivery to the people of Kenya. As a Ministry our intention is to have as many social protection programmes implemented by the national government, county governments and others implemented by non state actors linked to the Single Registry so that they can inform the social protection agenda in our country and as a country we can be able to monitor the impacts of these programmes in a more coordinated way.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am happy that currently, the Single Registry is holding data and information information of over 900,000 beneficiaries across the four Government safety net programmes and cash for assets programme implemented by World Food Programme. It is envisaged that this number will grow as more social protection programmes are brought into the system in the second phase of the Single Registry.

As we launch completion of the first phase of the Single Registry the ministry is also in the process of embarking on the second phase and our partners will be working closely with us on this just as they have done in the first phase. We sincerely thank them for bringing us this far and for their commitment to continue walking with us.

The second phase will see the Single Registry expand to include more social protection programmes that are run by the state and other non state actors. Efforts will especially be made to link the social protection programmes that are implemented at the county level by county governments to the single registry for purposes of informing each other. Other programmes to be linked include Social Security and National Health Insurance which are components of Social Protection. This phase will also enhance data security measures as we seek to link to other social protection programmes. It is also the intention of the ministry to ensure sustainability of the System and we shall therefore embark on capacity building of government officers to ensure they can manage the system.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me reassure you that, my Ministry is committed to delivering on social protection programmes. In doing this we shall continue strengthening coordination and promoting linkages of the social protection sector to ensure the bigger picture of social protection which is to cushion the vulnerable from sinking into extreme poverty is realized.

In the current financial year my Ministry will also develop an investment plan on social protection towards the realization of the vision 2030. The intention is to plan for social protection by projecting resources that the government will require to invest in social protection to cushion our people from poverty in the coming years. Allow us to reiterate that social protection interventions are an investment for cushioning our people from poverty which will accelerate realization of the vision 2030.

Additionally, the Ministry is in the process of designing a comprehensive social protection programme. It is over ten years now since the Ministry started implementing cash transfer programmes and lessons learnt will be useful in putting together a more comprehensive programme to provide comprementary support to those who are already receiving cash transfers and also identify areas of support for other vulnerable groups who are not receiving the cash transfer yet they need to be cushioned from poverty. The new programme is expected to address ‘exit mechanisms for beneficiaries that realise ecominomic empowerment through the cash transfer.

The Ministry in collaboration with UNICEF is also in the process of mapping social protection programmes that are implemented at the county level. The study is expected to make recommendations on how to address the gaps indenfied. We believe the mapping excercie will come up with key recommendations that will assit the counties to design and implement social protection programmes. We look forward to working closely with the county governments on this.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As we do this, I invite other likeminded Kenyans and friends of Kenya, to continue collaborating with the Government in supporting these noble initiatives. I take this opportunity to thank those development partners who have walked with us this far. World Food Programme, The World Bank, UNICEF and DFID we recognise you in a very special way for the support you have given towards the social protection programmes.

With those remarks ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to officially launch the Single Registry for the Social Protection Programmes.

I thank you.

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