Can the Kenyan Government even imagine paying everyone KSh 2,000 every month?
Kenya should consider paying Sh2,000 to all its 30 million adult citizens to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus.
This radical proposal by an American academic and a Kenyan analyst appears in today’s Siasa (Page 10). It deserves serious consideration.
It is quite radical though.
It is radical because it is egalitarian. Every single Kenyan adult would get Sh2,000 per month – from Gideon Moi down to the pastoralist in Mandera.
It is possible because virtually every Kenyan has a phone with mobile money or Mpesa.
Existing cash transfer.
There are some existing cash transfer programmes in Kenya for old people or disadvantaged communities but these have limited scope.
A universal monthly transfer would be much easier to administer as everyone would receive it without discrimination.
But who would be eliglbe?
It could be argued that Gideon Moi does not need Sh2,000 per month but there are very few Kenyans in his category.
For most Kenyans it could help them survive the coronavirus lockdown, especially those who work in the informal sector.
How is the Government helping the most vulnerable?
Government has tried to mitigate the impact of the lockdown by reducing corporation tax, PAYE and VAT.
But these measures primarily assist companies and white collar workers. They do not help the most vulnerable.
How much would it cost?
A universal monthly transfer of Sh2,000 would cost around Sh60 billion per month. It would not be cheap but it would pump money into the economy and help businesses as well as ordinary citizens.
So would it make sense?
(H/T The Star)