Beneficiaries of monthly cash transfer funds from Baringo County have decried being denied payments by banks due to defaced fingerprints mostly occasioned by effects of ageing.
Bishop John Chebet of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya who represented the elders condemned the move and urged banking agents contracted to disburse the cash transfer funds, to devise alternative ways of authenticating the beneficiaries instead of frustrating them over defaced finger prints.
He said majority the old age persons from Baringo North Sub-County of 65 years and above who are beneficiaries of the National government’s cash transfer funds were illiterate and are forced to use fingerprints in place of signatures needed as a mandatory requirement for identification purposes.
The frustrated elders were speaking yesterday in Kabartonjo town during a meeting convened by Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Labour and Social Protection Phyllis Kandie who had toured Baringo North Sub-County to accessing the progress of the Inua Jamii cash transfer programme.
Baringo North Legislator William Cheptumo who was present asked the CS to upscale the programme and include other members of the community saying many elderly people have been left out.
Cheptumo urged labour Ministry to hasten the process of replacing caretakers of the beneficiaries of the funds so as to avoid unnecessary delays in payments which has been a challenge to the elderly.
CS Kandie and her Principal Secretary (PS) Susan Mochache who donated blankets and food stuffs to the beneficiaries of the programme established in 2014 praised Jubilee government for initiating it noting that it currently spends shillings 21 billion and benefits over 8000 households countrywide.
The Labour CS further announced that the government will soon offer free medical insurance cover through NHIF to all beneficiaries of cash transfer funds saying the move will spare the elderly from spending the funds on medical treatments and instead use the cash to buy food.
The PS Mochache noted that the government was working on ways of minimizing obstacles hurdling smooth payments of cash transfer funds adding that beneficiaries who have fingerprint problems should consider using trusted caretakers to collect the money on their behalf.
Mochache also asked KBC and Equity banks who are disbursing the funds to begin offering mobile services to safe the elders for the agony of travelling very long distances to access banking facilities in towns like Kabarnet, Eldama Ravine, Kabartonjo and Marigat.
She also said the government allows the elders to collect the money within a period of three weeks to prevent the beneficiaries suffering from fatigue resulting from crowding in banks.
Water Principal Secretary Prof. Fred Segor who accompanied the Labour CS and her PS lauded the government for initiating the funds saying it helps the elderly who are in dire need of help.
County Commissioner Peter Okwanyo warned caretakers who con the elderly and rob their cash that firm action will be taken against them.
Bartabwa Ward Representative (MCA) Reuben Chepsongol urged the government to consider hiring the village elders and pay them salaries for they assist Chiefs in laborious task of mapping out the distribution of the Social Protection Funds like the cash transfer funds.