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State to ‘spend Sh6,000 on pack of pads’

The government has proposed to spend Sh6,000 on a pack of sanitary towels, which will be distributed to women and girls affected by El Niño rains.

A total of Sh24 million will be required to buy 4,000 packs, according to a budget, which the State said it had submitted to donors.

The price is way above the retail price of the towels in supermarkets and other stores, where they are sold for less than Sh500.

The State, through the National Disaster Operations Centre under the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Coordination of National Government, has said the distribution is set to run from October 2015, to January 2016.

Kenyans took to social media to berate the government for planning to spend Sh37,500 on each bar soap, which will be distributed during the same period.



The topic trended on Twitter under the hashtag #SabuniYa37K. Disgusted Kenyans questioned the wisdom of spending huge amounts of money to benefit corruption yet teachers and some civil servants are yet to be paid.

Twitter users said the planned wastage shows where government funds, which are said to have run out, are being channelled.

Government defenders on social media could not match the anger of the public.

But an official of the intergovernmental communication committee sought to allay fears, arguing that the budget had been submitted to donors and nothing had been finalised.

“There is no money that has been issued by the national government in as far as El Niño is concerned. These are only proposals, which will be re-evaluated with donors. Only funds for counties have been approved,” he said.

Experts have warned that the El Niño, which has already begun, will affect 85 per cent of the country.

The sanitary towels are meant for vulnerable women and school children across the country who will be unable to access them because of the anticipated floods.



On Sunday, light showers were experienced in Nairobi and its environs, which weather experts said was an indication that the El Niño rains had started.

“It is likely that El Niño has begun,” Mr Samuel Mwangi, the deputy director of the Kenya Meteorological Department said.

He promised to give a more comprehensive report on Monday. Rains have been falling in other parts of the country in the past few weeks.

In preparation for the heavy rains, which could claim lives and cause destruction of property worth billions of shillings, the government presented its partners with a budget.

In the budget, the government plans to distribute 4,000 mosquito nets to 50,000 people, which will cost Sh3.2million.

The State plans to buy 20,000 blankets at a cost of Sh20 million to be distributed to 50,000 people and 5,000 tarpaulins to be distributed to 50,000 people at Sh 133 million. It is also set to distribute 5,000 mattresses at a cost of Sh15 million.