Government unveils pension programme for the old

Only 30 percent of Kenyans above the age of 70 years are covered by pension schemes administered by both public and private institutions.

Another 14 percent are enrolled in social programmes such as the Hunger Safety and Network Programme (HSNP).

According to the Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT) report released during the launch of the Inua Jamii 70 years and above cash transfer programme on Thursday during the roll out plan of the programme, Labour, East Africa Community and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary, Ms. Phylis Kandie said that the programme seeks to directly protect and reduce vulnerability of Kenyans in the age bracket of 70 years and above.

Government is committed to enhance and expand the existing OPCT into a more inclusive programme that provides transfers to all older persons aged 70 years, said the CS

The CS noted that experiences from the ongoing cash transfers have shown that money received has helped reduce dependence and made older persons afford medicine as well as assisting them in taking their grandchildren to school.

Kenyatta Maitha, Country Director, Help Age International said that study shows that Old-age pension coverage in Kenya is currently low.

The vast majority of Kenyans face an uncertain future that is characterized by high risk of disability and ill health alongside reduced capacity to earn an income, said Maitha.

He added that this results in an increased dependence on relatives, many of whom face their own economic pressures associated with raising children or improving their own livelihoods.

He further said that the national social security reform needs to make poverty reduction in old age a key priority for Kenya’s pension system, adding that the current system is biased towards those who have worked in the formal sector.

In the 2017 budget speech, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich announced the intent of government to enhance and expand the existing Older Persons Cash Transfer Programme (OPCT) into a more inclusive programme that provides transfers to all older persons aged 70 years and above starting January 2018.

According to the 2009 census, 2017 projections, the population of older persons aged 70 years and above is estimated to be 973,000.

Source: Kenya News Agency