The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) loans have not reached the targeted number of beneficiaries despite a disbursement of more than Sh7 billion.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko says WEF strategic plan for 2013-17 aimed to increase the number of women beneficiaries from 536,649 in June 2012 to 1,391,150 by June last year.
“Review of detailed Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme (CWES) loan status report as at November 30, 2016, showed that WEF had reached and benefited 710,820 women which is just about half of the targeted number,” Mr Ouko said in a performance audit report on the provision of financial and business support services to women by the fund.
The financial services to women entrepreneurs are provided through interest-free CWES loans as well as subsidised credit from financial intermediaries.
Mr Ouko says the objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the WEF in the provision of financial and business support services to women entrepreneurs.
“Specifically, to determine the extent to which WEF has provided and recovered loans to women entrepreneurs, offered capacity building to beneficiaries and engaged partners to offer business support services,” he said.
The audit covered the period 2010/2011 to November 2016 at the WEF headquarters, eight regional offices and 39 constituencies.
“The audit found that WEF has managed to disburse Sh7,498,680,530 reaching 710,820 women directly through Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme channel,” said Mr Ouko in the report tabled in Parliament last week.
He said Sh1,841,830,000 had been disbursed to 162,661 women through the financial institutions.
Mr Ouko said the WEF has loaned Sh20,951,180 to 56 women-owned enterprises through the Local Purchase Order (LPO) product to help women entrepreneurs to meet tender conditions and supply goods and services.
“However, despite the achievements attributed to WEF, the fund has experienced some shortcomings in its endeavour to provide Kenyan women entrepreneurs with financial and business support services,” he said.
Mr Ouko said the CWES status report as at November 2016 shows disparities in the cumulative uptake of loans by constituencies since the fund started operations in 2007/08.
“For example, some constituencies like Lafey, Kacheliba and Garsen reported an uptake of CWES loans of Sh0.25 million, Sh1.35 million and Sh1.35 million respectively which was significantly low.
“In comparison, constituencies like Lurambi, Nyeri Town and Mathira which reported an uptake of Sh79 million, Sh137 million and Sh146 million respectively was significantly high,” Mr Ouko said.