As December 1, 2022, draws nearer, members of the public are getting anxious ahead of the disbursement of the Ksh50 billion ‘Hustlers Fund’. President William Ruto in his campaign promised Kenyans that he would create a Ministry for Corperatives and through it release a fund that would be accessible to businessmen and women at low interest rates.
The head of state explained that the fund will help jobless Kenyans create employment for themselves and existing businesses to grow beyond their current state.
The basic proposal is to have a government-controlled fund where Ksh250 billion will be directly injected into the economy over a period of five years in a bid to stimulate the economy by providing free or cheap credit.
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It particularly focuses on Kenyans working in the informal economy where the private sector may be reluctant to offer loans – or maybe charge high-interest rates due to the risk of default. The statutory framework of the fund is currently being developed.
In this article, WoK takes a look at all you need to know about the Hustlers’ Fund and how members of the public can access it.
During the Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20, President Ruto in his speech, indicated that ‘hustlers’ will have to participate in a pensions programme in order to access the cheap credit.
“All borrowers on this platform will also participate in a short-term savings plan and long-term pensions programme. Every saving made by borrowers on this platform will be merged by the government of Kenya on a 2:1 ratio to a level to be determined by the programme,” President Ruto said.
“Already, expectations are very high across the country on our promise to provide a fund that will offer affordable credit to those at the bottom of the pyramid. We are aware that the most significant question in the streets, boda boda parking lots and fresh produce markets is: WHEN will the Hustlers Fund become operational? I have an answer for you today. I will launch this Hustler Fund credit and savings product on the 1st of December this year,” he added.
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The president noted that Kenyans are very optimistic about the campaign promises he made and are in need of cheap loans to create and grow businesses. He added that money would be available to both individuals and firms.
“Credit products will be available to small businesses on digital platforms at affordable rates to individuals and through chamas, groups, saccos and cooperatives. No citizen will be excluded from the credit system. They will, therefore, be eligible to access credit as they work their way out in paying their loans,” President Ruto said.
How to access the Fund
During his vetting, Cabinet Secretary for Cooperative and Micro, small and medium enterprises development, Simon Chelugui outlined the framework with which the fund will be accessed.
The CS told the committee which was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula that accessing Hustlers’ Fund will involve a four- thronged approach.
The first phase will be identification which will involve identifying Kenyans in small enterprises through physical and digital platforms.
“We will use digital mechanism as have the highest digital penetration in this country or physical. We will work with other ministries to register the potential beneficiaries of this fund,” said Chelugui.
The second phase will be to group the hustlers in saccos, financial groups and societies to enhance mainstreaming of the fund with efficiency.
The third phase will involve rigorous training of the entrepreneurs to build their capacities before they can access the fund.
The final phase will involve the distribution of the funds to the potentials which will provide start-up and growth capital for small businesses.
“After this stage we will go to the final phase of enabling the delivery of this hustler intervention. We will need to build a monetary and evaluation to see that those who cant access are supported,” Chelgui stated.
Interests on the Loans
During the campaigns, the president and his camp had alluded that the fund would have zero interest, however, he has recently backtracked on the matter.
He recently stated that the fund will offer low interest rates compared to loans issued by several lending institutions in the country. Despite not mentioning the exact number, he however, stated that it would be below 10 per cent.
“Under the Hustler Fund programme, we will lower the interest to below 10 percent per year so you can save and when/if your business fails, after a few years you can get that money and boost your business,” the head of state promised earlier in October.