ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga has dismissed claims by lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto that the Kenyan government cannot sustain paying jobless youths.
Addressing a crowd at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi, Raila said he has a plan that will see the state pay jobless youth a Sh6,000 monthly stipend if he becomes president in the 2022 poll.
The former Prime Minister said he would cut ministry budget to fund the cash transfer plan to cushion vulnerable families and help jobless youth get along until they get employed.
“We will give youths loans to start their businesses. The jobless youth who have no regular income will be given Ksh6,000 monthly. Some people have said that this is not possible, but I want to declare here that is very possible," he said.
"I am looking forward to a government that shall embark on a direct cash transfer programme to the 2 million poorest households in the country going forward. This programme will reach about 8, million poor Kenyans a year, given that the average size of a household across the country is 4 individuals," he said in a media address on Wednesday.
"This initiative will integrate the current social protection programme on which we already spend Sh38 billion shillings. We would add about Sh100 billion to this and expand it to include the poorest of the poor among Kenyans.
"And nobody should lie to Kenyans that taxes would have to rise for this to be realised; far from it. This shall be done with resources redirected from a range of ministries that will initially take a 25 per cent cut in their budget. The budget cuts will be followed by an even wider rationalisation aimed at transfering government services to the poor and towards assisting the private sector, especially SMEs to grow and prosper."
The ODM presidential candidate also promised Kenyans that he will ensure that prices of essential commodities are reduced to effectively tackle the current high cost of living.
Raila added that he will pay attention to low-income Kenyans and small business owners to boost economic growth.
"I have come here to announce because I know there is an economic depression prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. I know that the cost of living has shot up, prices of commodities have hit the ceiling. I promise you better days by transforming our economy. I will focus on the downtrodden and SMEs," he said.
Raila and his brigade toured Burma market, Kamukunji grounds and other parts of Nairobi in a bid to convince his supporters to register as voters in the ongoing mass voter registration.