The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has not reached its targeted beneficiaries due to an aging cheque printer and an upfront five per cent loan administration fee.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko in his latest report said cheque issuance delays are as a result of WEF’s old printer that takes up to three weeks instead of one to print 1,000 cheques.
He also noted the five percent loan administration fee has hindered credit uptake especially in north eastern where Muslim women groups misconstrued it as interest.
“Review of the detailed Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme (CWES) loan status report as at 30 November 2016 showed that WEF had reached and benefited 710,820 women which is just about half of the targeted number,” said Mr Ouko.
According to WEF Strategic Plan 2013-2017, it targeted to increase the number of women beneficiaries from 536,649 in June 2012 to 1,391,150 by June 2017.
The old printer has meant that cheques delay by between two to six months, making the women groups miss out on business investment opportunities.
The audit, covering the period 2010/2011 to November 2016 established that 73 percent of the 299 women groups surveyed experienced delays of up to six months.
“The only cheque printer is a less efficient, of an older model and often overheats since it has to print more than 1,000 cheques per month,” he said.
The survey established that some women groups in low uptake regions such as North Eastern were reluctant to take up credit due to the five percent administrative fee.
“Out of the 299 groups surveyed, 256 (86 percent) were comfortable with the five percent administration fee charged while 14 (5 percent) wanted the fees scraped,”
WEF, established as one of the flagship projects under Kenya Vision 2010 has disbursed Sh7.4 billion to 710,820 women directly through CWES channel.
The fund had disbursed Sh1.8 billion to 162,661 women through the Financial Institution (FI) channel and Sh20.9million to 56 women- owned enterprises through the Local Purchase Order (LPO) Product.
Women are unable to access economic resources due to high interests on loans from banks and other lenders, lack of collateral such title deeds and log books, low financial literacy levels and cultural factors.