The Hustler Fund is emerging as the most popular affirmative action fund of the William Ruto Presidency. The Hustler Fund, which is set to be operational in December, will see the government set aside Sh50 billion to provide cheaper credit for micro and small businesses.
But it is not the only Fund that taxpayers should expect to finance in coming months. The ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition made many campaign promises in its manifesto, a number of which will require the setting up of special funds to be actualised. Here are some of the special purpose funds to expect.
This fund will be established with initial capital from proceeds from privatisation and it seeks to reduce the financing of commercially viable infrastructure projects from the budget. Priority will be given to project grants or concessional financing, including water, health, education and environment or climate change.
National Housing Fund
With the target of increasing the supply of new housing to 250,000 yearly, the government will structure a long-term housing finance scheme including the National Housing Fund and Cooperative Social Housing Schemes to guarantee off-take of houses from developers. The fund will also aid in increasing the share of affordable housing supply up to 50 percent.
This will be a fund similar to what was used to acquire land from settler farmers after independence. The Ruto administration argues that the right to housing is laid down in the Constitution and that this is not just limited to urban settlements, as the majority of Kenyans live in their own rural homes. The Settlement Fund will help address their fair share of land and settlement-related challenges, including landlessness and insecure land tenure.
The Film Fund is expected to support the creative industry under a plan to add value to Kenya’s exports such as fashion, leather products, and craft industries. The new government will push Parliament to pass the Creative Economy Bill that will enable the establishment of a film fund which will in turn facilitate the access to modern equipment and entire film production infrastructure available for local film makers on a hire and lease basis.
Fuel Stabilisation Fund
The Ruto government has promised to set up a legal framework to ring-fence the fund that was established by the Uhuru Kenyatta administration. Petroleum, which is Kenya’s single-largest import, will remain an important fuel for several decades. However, the price volatility is a challenge for consumers, with tax being the major factor in the high cost of petroleum products.
Sporting Heroes Benevolent Fund
The Kenya Kwanza manifesto recognised Kenya's achievements on international sports platforms. However, the past administrations have often let down the sports people, in terms of facilitation and providing adequate resources.
To rectify past mistakes, the coalition committed to ensuring that sports will be adequately funded, facilitated and developed.
Social Welfare Fund
This fund, if set up, will provide a safety net for distressed citizens in the diaspora. There have been growing concerns about Kenyans working abroad, especially in the Middle East countries being stranded or forced to work under inhumane conditions.
National Fund for Chronic and Catastrophic Illness and Injury
The fund will cater to the needs of persons with illnesses or injuries whose costs are not covered by insurance, or have very restrictive cover such as cancer, diabetes, stroke and accident rehabilitation and pandemics.
National Fund for the Disabled
This will be made possible by merging the Fund with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) and ensuring parliamentary oversight for accountability. Also, the government will ensure increased capitation of pupils with disabilities by 50 percent, and set aside 15 percent of all public-funded bursaries for pupils with disabilities.
Contributory Benevolent Fund
Over the years, security officers have struggled to take care of their very ill family members due to the high cost of treatment, with others failing to provide their loved ones with a decent send off. To salvage the situation, the government will set aside funds for families of fallen terminal ill officers, including mental health illness.
The Kenya Kwanza manifesto notes that the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) contribute 85 percent of non-farm jobs, which currently translate to 15 million out of 18 million workforce.
To ensure its success, the government has committed Sh50 billion every year, which will enable MSMEs access to 100 percent affordable financing. It is still not clear if the Equity Fund is the same as or different from the Huster Fund.