Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to preside over the launch of the Single Registry for the social protection programmes. I am especially delighted to note that the launch of the single registry is another milestone under the Jubiliee government which will play a critical role in the way we deliver social protection programmes in the country. I also note that this is a best practice in the Africa region and many countries in the region have been visiting Kenya to learn about it.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You are aware that the Jubilee Government is implementing an ambitious development agenda covering all sectors of the country as contained in the Constitution of Kenya (2010), The Vision 2030 and the Jubilee Manifesto.
The Constitution of Kenya (2010) aims at moving Kenya towards a more equitable and inclusive future. It protects the rights of women, children, youth, disabled persons, older persons minorities and marginalized groups and communities through a comprehensive bill of rights. It specifically mandates the state to provide social protection to those who cannot support themselves and their families. The Kenya vision 2030 which is Kenya’s development blue print for moving Kenya into a middle income country further empasises the need for social protection. The strategy aims to reduce poverty through investing in vulnerable groups of people and recommends the establishment of a consolidated social Protection Fund. As a country we are also commited to implementing the Social Development Goals (SDGs) and the social protection initiatives we are making address themselves to goal number one on ending extreme poverty in all forms by 2030 which corresponds to Kenya’s Vision 2030 period.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Jubilee government is committed to actualizing the constitutional provisions on social protection and the aspirations of the vision 2030. The party manifesto has committed to ensure that vulnerable members in our society are cushioned against poverty and are protected from falling deeper into poverty. A number of initiatives have therefore been initiated to ensure that our people live in diginity and they can be able to engange in social economic activities on daily basis.
The Jubiliee government has established a state department of Social Protection under the Ministry of East African community, Labour and Social Protection with a Principal Secretary to ensure issues of Social Protection are given the attention they deserve due to the impact that they have on our people. Additionally,in the last three years the government has invested heavily in social protection programmes with a view of increasing and improving the safety net services.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Government recognizes that Social protection is cross cutting in nature. A number of sectors are therefore designing and implementing social protection programmes. We are also aware that county governments are implementing social protection programmes. We therefore urge The State Department of social Protection to promote coordination and strengthen linkages between state and non state actors implementing social protection programmes so that as government we can be able to monitor how these programmes are contributing to the social protection agenda in the country.
The Ministry of Education continue to provide free primary education and subsidized secondary education which is a social protection programme. Additionally, the school feeding programmes also continue to benefit our children in Arid and Semi Arid lands which has increased enrolment and retention. To-date 900,000 school going children are benefiting from free meals. In addition, the government is also implementing a Presidential School Bursary Scheme, providing a complementary service to the Cash Transfer programme beneficiaries. Currently the amount of money allocated is Kshs.400, 000,000 to pay school fees for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) from poor families in Secondary schools who are also benefiting from the cash transfers for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture, is also Currently engaged in a variety of social protection programmes to cushion farmers from poverty and increase production which include: Fertilizers and seed subsidy programme to enhance productivity, Crop and livestock insurance cover, Debt waivers for coffee small scale farmers, Irrigation development as a strategy to shift from rainfed agriculture to irrigated agriculture, Dairy modernization project through dairy cooperative societies, Development of Disease free zones and Livestock off take programmes to mitigate effects of droughts.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Malnutrition hinders socio-economic development and the potential to reduce poverty. The Jubliee Government is therefore strongly committed to reducing hunger and malnutrition as a social protection initiative. A package of high impact nutrition interventions has been adopted to accelerate the reduction of malnutrition. This includes efforts to build self-reliance to reduce chronic food insecurity, as well as measures to assist those in need when emergencies occur.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to now focus on the cash transfers for the poor and vulnerable that have brought us here today. As jubilee government we are commited to improve the welfare of our people with the ultimate aim of reducing poverty and vulnerability through the cash transfer programmes and other social protection initiatives. As government we have evidence from impact evaluations done locally and internationally which 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 we have increased funding for the cash transfers from 7.9 billion before Jubilee Government to 21.2 billion. Cummulatatively, we have 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 Jubilee 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 government 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. Benefiary 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 Jubilee government being a digital government 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 I note that 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 Jubilee government our intention is to have as many social protection programmes implemented by the national government, counties 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 for 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 I end Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to assure my fellow Kenyans that the Jubilee Government is committed to ensuring accelerated development and we shall continue investing in our people through social protection programmes in all in parts of the country. We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that social protection is an investment for our people. No vulnerable Kenyan should be left behind in development. The Government will therefore continue to provide resources for implementation of social protection programmes in the country.
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.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU.