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The government of Kenya has set aside Sh37.8 billion for the social protection of vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities in the country.
While presenting the national budget for the 2021-22 financial year (FY) in the Parliament building, National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, said the amount follows the funds that were allocated last year after the coronavirus pandemic struck the country. "When Covid-19 Pandemic struck last year, we injected additional resources to the traditional cash transfer programme to cushion the vulnerable in our society," he said.
"To continue protecting this vulnerable segment, I have proposed an allocation of Sh37.8 billion for social protection and affirmative actions in this budget." Of the amount, Yatani has allocated Sh16.7 billion to cater for cash transfers to elderly persons. Another Sh7.9 billion was dedicated to Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
Meanwhile, the Ministry set aside Sh1.2 billion for persons with severe disabilities. Yatani said the proposed allocation also includes Sh4.1 billion for the Kenya Hunger Safety Net Programme and Sh3.7 billion for the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impact Project. Another Sh2.7 billion was set aside for the Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project.
Children will not be left behind. According to the Cabinet Secretary, Sh933.8 million will go to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. Yatani said another Sh400 million will go towards the Presidential Bursary for the orphans. Another Sh200 million will go to the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities.
The funds are part of the Sh3.6 trillion budget that was announced on June 10, highlighting Kenya's intended spending plan for the rest of the year. The latest spending plan is in line with the government’s ongoing efforts to establish social protection for vulnerable groups in the country. Data by Development Initiatives (DI) indicates that between FY2016/17 and FY2020/21, the State Department for Social Protection earmarked Sh9 billion for programmes that promote inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities. These funds went to the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities (NDFPWD), the Cash Transfer for Persons with Severe Disabilities (PWSD-CT) scheme, and vocational rehabilitation and social development services.
The organization reveals that the PWSD-CT accounted for two thirds of the funds that the State Department for Social Protection earmarked for inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities between FY2016/17 and FY2020/21.Further, the organization says that annual budget allocations to the PWSD-CT and NDFPWD remained constant at Sh1.2 billion and Sh259 million respectively between FY2016/17 and FY2019/20.
Funds earmarked for vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities amounted to Sh1 billion over the five fiscal years, with annual allocations reducing by 32.2 percent in FY2019/20 and by 9.1 percent in FY2020/21.
"The reduction in funding to vocational rehabilitation may increase the risk that persons with disabilities are left behind in access to employment during and after the Covid-19 pandemic," DI said.