Banks are urged to change lending packages to serve SMEs


The government is negotiating with banking institutions to streamline their lending packages to accommodate Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs), which are thought to be the pillar of the country’s future economy.

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the government was consulting with banks to restructure and be more attractive to small and medium enterprises.

Chelugui was addressing representatives of Saccos, banks, and industries during a one-week Co-operative and MSMEs Expo at the University of Embu assured that the government will provide incentives to the banks to ease the release of finances to these entities.

At the same time, the CS petitioned banks to increase the Ksh3 billion set aside for the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

However, banks responded two years ago by setting aside the funds, but uptake by borrowers has been low due to strict lending regulations enforced by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

With the rollout of the restructured Hustler Fund from personal loans to group-based packages ranging from Ksh20,000 to Ksh200,000,  borrowing is bound to expand and benefit more Kenyans.

And through the various loan channels, Chelugui said, the government is out to stamp out poverty, enrich Kenyans and industrialize the country.

Nevertheless, he added, the government will continue with programs for alternative funding packages without entirely depending on banks.

The Hustler Fund, he said, had shown attractive levels of maturity after being tested through loans to individuals, where Ksh28 billion had been borrowed by Kenyans.

Governor Cecily Mbarire thanked the Kenya Kwanza government for launching campaigns to register cooperatives targeting macadamia farmers to stem abuse and exploitation by individual firms.

For some time, macadamia farmers in the county have suffered low prices against hugely attractive international prices.

By Robert Nyagah

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