Baringo Central MP Joshua Kandie has decried the persistent low consumption of devolved funds by various registered groups in the county.
Mr. Kandie noted that many groups that comprise women, youth and the disabled fear borrowing loans from institutions of lending because they do not want to be followed up in case they default.
Speaking on Thursday when he launched the disbursement of Sh. 2 million, Uwezo fund to twenty groups at the constituency NG-CDF offices in Kabarnet town, the MP also observed that the number of youth groups participating in the Uwezo programme is extremely low and urged them to form viable groups to access the interest free loans.
“With the current high rate of unemployment, I appeal to you to mentor the youth towards the direction of self-employment. I urge our local youth, please don’t fear to borrow funds since it is the only sure way of getting empowered,” he stressed.
Mr. Kandie regretted that out of a total of Sh15 million disbursed to 158 groups since the inception of Uwezo fund in 2014, only Sh4 million has been repaid.
“I call upon those who took the money to repay so that other eligible groups can benefit. We have done our part to avail the money to you. Please don’t fear borrowing because of repayment. Tell our people to embrace the culture of borrowing and repaying,” he stated.
He claimed the former area youth officer was not keeping proper records hence frustrating the process of tracing defaulting groups and leading to low repayment rate.
In the launch attended by among others the sub county youth officer Komen Kiptoo and area Uwezo fund constituency chairman Evans Kimeres, the legislator asked the benefitting groups drawn from five wards in the area to strictly use the money for the intended purpose to improve their economic status.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to start small businesses or boost their existing start up enterprises while embracing financial discipline.
Mr. Kandie revealed that he has set aside Sh 1 million from CDF kitty to finance training of salonists in the entire constituency on Uwezo fund programme and urged those wishing to benefit from the bursary to submit their applications.
Mr. Kiptoo, the new youth officer, said the disbursement of the Sh2 million cheques brings the total number of groups which have access to Uwezo funds in the constituency to 178 since the programme was started six years ago.
“I encourage the twenty groups set to be given cheques today to engage in business oriented enterprises since the money is a loan which must be repaid. I don’t see the reason why any group should fail to repay yet you have a six months’ grace period and between six and twenty-four months to repay the loan. Imagine the money does not attract any interest at all. It is youth friendly loans,” emphasized Kiptoo.
However, Mr. Kiptoo who is secretary to the Uwezo fund in the constituency reiterated that in case there will be defaulters, they have mechanisms that they use to ensure the groups repay the loans.
He added that the money is under the Financial Regulation Management (FRM) Act Uwezo fund of 2012 that ensures that members commit themselves as individuals and as a group that they will repay the loan without fail.
“And defaulting to repay means you will have violated the Act and we shall use chiefs and their assistants to order you to pay or as a committee we shall come for you,” he stressed.
The youth officer assured the benefitting groups comprising 300 members that the committee will keenly follow up repayment of the loans and all must pay.
Mr. Kimeres in his address called on the beneficiaries to repay their loans on time to enable others to benefit from the national government revolving funds.
He challenged the groups drawn from Kabarnet, Kapropita, Sacho, Tenges and Ewalel Chap chap wards to go for profit generating activities in order to repay the loans faster and with ease.
By Joshua Kibet