Counties

Regions defaulting on youth, Uwezo loans to be blacklisted

Sicily Kariuki, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Secretary. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Sicily Kariuki, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Secretary. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government is in the process of blacklisting regions with poor repayment records of soft loans given through various social welfare and enterprise funds.

The coastal region, with a repayment rate of less than 30 per cent, is among those targeted for blacklististing over Uwezo Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and The Youth Enterprise Development Fund. Kilifi County alone owes the government more than Sh200 million.

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the ministry was unable to collect hundreds of millions of shillings in some regions.

She said in most cases, residents feel the money is a free gift from the government. “The rate of defaulters is higher in some areas, in Kaloleni and Musambweni the rate is over 70 per cent,” she said. The revolving funds must be paid back to help others, but this has not been the case.

“We are not going to consider any more funding to defaulters,” said Ms Kariuki. She has directed directors of the funds not to channel any more money to affected regions.

“We are serving this nation equitably, when I find the case as I found of less than 30 per cent repayment rate, as the CEO of the ministry I told my people to stop channelling any more funds to defaulting regions.

‘‘I must take drastic measures to safeguard public resources,” she said. Nyeri and Nyandarua counties are the best performers at 100 per cent repayment rate in the Uwezo and women enterprise funds, according to the CS, while youths in the two counties lead with over 88 per cent repayment record.

“The government has a lot of money to support the youth and women, but the kitties will only benefit those willing to comply with set regulations,” the CS said in Nyandarua.

“We are not discriminating against any region, but the law must be followed,” she stated.

The Women Enterprise Fund has benefited 24,500 families in Nyandarua County and Uwezo Fund 18,300 families (Sh104 million) according to Ms Kariuki.

The youth fund has benefited 11,600 young people (Sh219 million). Nyandarua county has received Sh57 million out of the Sh4 billion allocated to the affirmative action funds.

Ms Kariuki said her ministry will assist women to start their own saccos.