Kenyans have borrowed Sh19.6 billion from the Hustler Fund as of midday Monday, highlighting the growing popularity of the kitty that aims to increase financial inclusion especially for the low-income earners.
Cooperatives and Micro and Small Enterprises Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui made the disclosures, adding that borrowers have repaid Sh10.605 billion as of midday.
The first phase of the Hustler Fund was launched on November 30 last year to ease access to credit, albeit small amounts from as low as Sh500 to a high of Sh50,000.
The State plans to launch the second phase of the fund in March by increasing the loan limit to Sh2.5 million, rivalling commercial banks, which have over the years perceived small traders as risky borrowers.
The second phase will see savings and credit cooperative societies start to access ‘Hustler’ loans.
The financial inclusion fund forms a key plank of President William Ruto’s new economic order that seeks to address unemployment and the lack of opportunities for low-income earners through affordable credit.
Besides credit, the fund also has a built-in savings component targeting Kenyans outside formal employment, supported by partial contributions from the State where taxpayers will match Sh1 for every Sh2 contributed, capped at Sh3,000 annually.