The government has been requested to consider setting aside sh. 70 billion to support poor families in case a total lockdown will be declared in the country.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said during this time the country is fighting to contain spread of coronavirus, measures should be undertaken to ensure vulnerable families don’t starve.
He noted that the money can be given to about 8 million families that depend on informal sector and make less than Sh. 500 in a day.
Some of the countries where total lockdown has been imposed, Kang’ata noted, respective governments have been providing food to their citizens.
He observed in Kenya, distribution of food maybe a big challenge considering the many processes of procuring and distributing the same.
“The only better option is to have cash transfer to families which are poor to help them buy food in time of lockdown,” Kang’ata told the press Wednesday.
He explained that out of the Sh. 70 billion, every poor family can get sh. 10, 000 for support saying the money can be given in instalments.
“The government can come up with a better formula to help our people. As parliament we can see how to allocate the funds to help those who cannot afford food at times of lockdown,” added Kang’ata.
He observed that many Kenyans especially in informal sector manage to get money for food on daily basis and thus lockdown may prevent them from accessing basic necessities.
Kang’ata’s sentiments came few minutes before President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a raft of measures to help Kenyans from economic hardships.
The President announced 100 percent waiver on taxes to gross salary of up to Sh. 24, 000 and reduction of Pay as You Earn tax on salaries above Sh. 24, 000 from 30 to 25 percent.
Kang’ata on his view said some monies meant for infrastructural development can be channeled to support Kenyans at this time the country is facing threat of covid-19.
“There is need for parliament to resume and pass a supplementary budget which will assist during this time of covid-19 that is posing threat to lives of Kenyans,” noted Kang’ata who is the Senate Majority Whip.
By Bernard Munyao