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Counties

Millions of women, youth loans issued via ex-MPs untraced

Rachel Shebesh
Youth and Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government cannot trace hundreds of millions of shillings disbursed under the stewardship of MPs who lost their seats in the last General Election.

Youth and Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh Tuesday said efforts to follow up the Uwezo Fund cash were hampered by lack of proper records. Some of the recipient groups have since been disbanded, making it hard to recover the money, she said in Machakos County.

Every constituency received Sh17 million through the legislators who allocated the money to groups of their choice.

“We have problems where the MPs were not re-elected as the new ones do not know which groups received the funds,” said Ms Shebesh.

The CAS did not give an exact figure of the cash that is unaccounted for nor the number of former MPs with yet to furnish the ministry with disbursement details.

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The ministry has also not shared the plans it will take to recover the monies.

To enhance accountability, the CAS said that the ministry is now devising a new plan that will see county commissioners involved in allocation and recovery of the money.

Ms Shebesh urged defaulters to pay up saying that settling of up to 50 percent of their initial loan would enable them to take up another.

“I want to urge groups to repay their loans so that other people can also access the funds.”

Uwezo Fund stems from the Jubilee’s pledge in 2013 to allocate Sh6 billion to women and the youth in a bid to expand their access to credit and enable them to make gainful self-employment.

The loans are disbursed at the constituency level with the area MP being the patrons while Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committees (CUFMCs) are charged with the overall management

Ms Shebesh raised the alarm when she issued Sh9.4 million cheques to 50 self-help groups in Machakos through the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF).

The groups were successful applicants of the Tuinuke loan that targets women groups across the country.

“Through this product which is interest free, WEF has disbursed a total of Sh16.4 billion since its inception in 2007 countrywide with 2,587 groups in Machakos County having accessed Sh332.2million,” said Ms Shebesh.

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