Hustler Fund loans hits 16 billion mark


By John Majau

Kenyans have continued to borrow from the Hustler Fund, with more than Ksh15.9 billion being disbursed by yesterday.

Cooperatives and Micro and Small Enterprises Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui said more than 18.4 million Kenyans have subscribed to the fund while over Ksh 7.7 billion has already been repaid.

The CS said 5.6 million subscribers have borrowed multiple times, pointing to growing demand for the credit facility.

Speaking during Yetu Sacco Annual General Meeting at Nkubu town in Meru County, Chelugui said borrowers who have been making prompt repayments will access higher limits in the second phase to be rolled out next month.

He said the government is on course in the plan to unveil lending through groups and Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos).

“We are finalizing development of the second phase of Hustler Fund that will see borrowers access between Ksh100,000 and Ksh2.5 million. We are encouraging Saccos to apply to disburse the funds in the second phase,” said the CS.

He was accompanied by his Agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi and Cooperatives PS Patrick Kilemi.

Chelugui said President William Ruto’s administration was keen on expanding the Cooperative sector by supporting establishment of cooperatives down to the Ward level.

He said as part of efforts to boost Saccos, plans were in advanced stage to include them in the national payment system as well as establish a central liquidity system.

“So far, about 52 out of the 360 Saccos under SASRA have shown interest in having a central liquidity system. This will enable Saccos clear cheques among themselves without using banks. We are also working on a credit guarantee scheme to protect members from any eventualities,” said Chelugui.

He advised counties to take their devolved role seriously in ensuring the Cooperative movement remains vibrant.

The CS also challenged Saccos to look into ways of supporting the government’s affordable housing project.

“I urge Saccos to diversify their products and support the government’s housing projects to close the gap in the housing sector. Saccos can work with the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Corporation to access affordable financing for their members,” he said. 

Chelugui advised Saccos against transforming into banks, saying such a move is not in the interest of shareholders.

Yetu Sacco, which has more than 60,000 members, declared dividends of 18 per cent and rebates of 13 per cent for 2022.

Cooperative leaders called on the government to relook into the taxes levied on savings and credit cooperatives, terming them hefty.

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