Cash transfers to replace food distribution policy, government says

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Public Service CS Margaret Kobia addresses the press yesterday at a Nairobi hotel after meeting development partners involved in the ASAL sector. PD/John Ochieng

Some 2.5 million Kenyans affected by drought in Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) will from next month receive cash transfer, which replaces the traditional food distribution programmes.

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Prof. Margaret Kobia yesterday said the government is shifting policy from distribution of food to cash transfer, to increase efficiency and accountability in mitigating the impact of drought.

She said the government will only distribute physical food already purchased including maize, rice, beans and oil with the Sh1.2 billion, out of the Sh2 billion allocated by the National Treasury.

“We want to assure Kenyans that we are shifting from distributing physical food to cash transfers, which is more efficient, honourable and dignified to the people being supplied with food. Moving forward in the month of December, we will not be dealing with physical food,” said Kobia.

She added: “Physical food distribution has been very inefficient and has been shrouded in integrity issues.”

Kobia spoke in Nairobi after holding a consultative meeting with development partners in the ASAL region, where they underscored the need for urgent measures to address needs of over 2.5 million people in 23 ASAL counties that require relief assistance.

Through National Drought Management Authority, Kobia said the government has already come up with a registry and every person receiving food assistance is known.

“The same people getting food physically, their data will now be transformed so that they can receive it through their mobile phones and we are hoping that 95 per cent or more will be given cash transfer,” Kobia explained.

She said the remaining five per cent are those not able to receive cash transfer for one reason or the other. She added that with the help of chiefs, they will find ways of getting the Sh2,000 per person or Sh3,000 per household so that the money can go to the right persons.

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