President William Ruto Tuesday moved to fulfil a campaign pledge he made to low-income earners popularly referred to as ‘hustlers’ by signalling the establishment of a fund that will provide them with collateral free cheap credit to start businesses.
Dr Ruto had in his campaigns promised a new economic order that would address unemployment and lack of opportunities for youth, pledging to pump billions of shillings in support for sectors such as the Boda Boda and small retailers.
On Tuesday, he announced the establishment of a Hustler Fund that will provide cheap and easy loans with no need for security.
The Sh50 billion annual kitty will be channeled towards supporting micro, small and medium, enterprises (MSMEs).
“We shall implement the hustler fund dedicated to the capitalisation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through Chamas, Saccos and Cooperatives to make credit available on affordable terms that do not require unnecessary collateral,” said the President during his inauguration on Tuesday.
This money will benefit members of savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) to provide start-up and growth capital for small businesses.
The benefits, he said, will also be extended to women and people living with disability who he said will also access the new fund.
“To implement all these interventions, we shall establish a Ministry of Cooperatives and SME development mandated to ensure that every small business has secure property rights, access to finance and a supportive regulatory framework,” he added.
Small businesses were badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and have been struggling to recover even after the easing of the pandemic, mainly due to longstanding difficulties in accessing formal credit from banks.
Kenyans have also been grappling with high cost of living attributed to lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global supply shocks experienced from the war in Ukraine.
This has resulted in rising unemployment as companies struggle to meet the cost of inputs, and high cost of food and fuel among other items that have hurt lower-income households the most.
The new administration is looking to combat unemployment which has been a major pain point for the youth, through collaborating with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions that will provide them with necessary skills in various sectors.
“We will engage TVET institutions to provide necessary skills to enable the Jua Kali industry to supply standardized products for our housing program,” said the head of state.