Okong'o Omogeni: Hustler Fund Unattractive to Hustlers

Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni.
Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni.
The Standard

Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni on Monday, November 14, termed the hustler fund as unattractive and unfriendly to the youths.

Speaking during the KTN News, the senator decried the high-interest cap on the fund suggesting that many Kenyans are shying away for fear of being auctioned in case of default on payment.

"People fear loans, and when the government comes up with loans at 10% they will tell you they don't want that money, what Mwananchi was expecting was a government fund with an interest of maybe not more than 3%, but this one of 10% is very unattractive,"

His sentiments were echoed by Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yussuf Hassan who intimated that the hustler fund is just like another bank loan at a 10% interest rate beyond the reach of poor people.

President Ruto during campaigns in Nairobi.
President Ruto during campaigns in Nairobi.
William Ruto

"At the beginning when it came up in public rallies, it was a brand, a grant to uplift poor people access to credit, and the biggest obstacle facing the poor hustler is access to capital, now what we have is another bank loan at 10% beyond the reach of any ordinary person, he stated.

They made the remarks weeks before President Ruto unveils the hustler fund program set to be launched on December 1.

Ruto set the record straight on the Hustler Fund that he promised during his presidential campaigns.

Speaking during a church service in Kericho County on Sunday, October 16, the Head of State noted that the funds will not be availed as grants but as loans.

"On December 1 we will launch the Hustler Fund and so it is up to you now to organise yourselves into Chamas, SACCOs, cooperatives or individually. It is not free money, it is business money that you will repay. We will eliminate shylocks and repayment will be at less than a 10% interest," Ruto said.

Under the program, those seeking to benefit through the Ksh50 billion annual kitty ought to have joined cooperative groups, which will act as their guarantors.

Senator Omogeni was cautious of the loan being offered, reflecting that he had an experience with such a program when residents of his county, Nyamira got access to Uwezo funds only to be auctioned after defaulting.

"When I was speaking to women groups, the government was giving money through Uwezo funds, they were given money and one day auctioneers were on their doors, people even lost cattle they had given as security," he disclosed.

He advised that this loan be made conducive for the common man and spoke against the loan attracting 10% interest.

President Ruto’s administration has committed to providing loans to small firms such as motorcycle transport operators and women-owned ventures at single-digit interest rates without collateral.

The Ksh50 billion annual fund will support micro, small and medium, enterprises (MSMEs).

Earlier this month, Treasury published proposed regulations to pave the way for the operationalisation of the much anticipated Hustler Fund.

In the regulation published on Friday, November 11, Treasury outlined four offences that will see Kenyans fined up to Ksh10 million or an alternative jail term of five years.

One of the offences includes misappropriation of the funds and its assets that will be officially referred to as the Financial Inclusion Fund.

Deputy President William Ruto during the unveiling of his manifesto on June 30, 2022.
Deputy President William Ruto during the unveiling of his manifesto on June 30, 2022.