The national government is spending over Sh30 billion to facilitate and support 1094,000 senior citizens, vulnerable children and persons living with disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Mr Simon Chelugui however said the government had a budget shortfall of Sh4.5 billion to fully support the elderly and the vulnerable in the country.
Speaking during the launch of Finlays’ Community Trust fund in Kericho, the CS said counties with a high number of senior citizens included Kericho (19,397), Bomet (19,151), Machakos (6,382), Makueni (5,720), Kitui (5,769), Muranga (5,481), and Meru (5,350).
He attributed the high numbers in the five counties to the availability of good food and favorable climatic conditions which supports a prolonged livelihood.
Chelugui said that persons aged 90 years and above who were under the cash transfer programme in Kericho were 1,735 while those in Bomet County were 2,007.
The CS called on other multinational tea companies and organisations in the country to emulate Finlay’s Tea Company by initiating Corporate Social Responsibilities where they assist communities in the areas they invested in.
Chelugui noted that Finlays Tea Company spends over Sh220 million annually to support community projects in water, building of tuition facilities and educating bright and needy students in Kericho and Bomet Counties to pursue their secondary, higher education locally and abroad.
He noted that Finlays was also leading in the two Counties by offering scholarships and sponsoring students to study for their Bachelors and Masters programmes and now it has upscaled the sponsorship from Sh12 million to Sh23.1 million for local scholarships and Sh13 million for oversees scholarships alone.
During the visit the CS toured Finlays Tea Company where he lauded the company for investing in the mechanisation of tea picking by introducing tea plucking machines which would maximise on profits and quality production of tea.
He also visited Chepinyoinyoi Water Spring which was rehabilitated and improved by Finlays.
Kericho County Governor Prof. Paul Chepkwony and his Bomet counterpart Dr. Hillary Barchok lauded the work done by the multi-national group in conserving water catchment areas and giving education scholarships which have uplifted many families in both counties and promised to work hand in hand with all like-minded organizations to empower residents of Kericho and Bomet Counties.
Finlay Community Trust is an independent charity that empowers the communities and nurtures sustainable growth in Kericho and Bomet counties. Funded by James Finlay Kenya, the Trust aims at delivering maximum social, environmental and economic benefits by taking a collaborative approach and appointing trustees to represent the local communities, thus creating shared values. By partnering with the communities, the Trust will be able to invest in and support projects and initiatives that have the most meaningful and enduring impact.
During the occasion, the Finlays Patron Simon Hutchinson said that they would continue to work with local communities to enhance the betterment of educational needs of their children and provision of water and other social amenities that support life.
Others present at the occasion were Kericho County Commissioner Mr Karungo Kamau and his security team.
By Dominic Cheres and Byegon Alfric