The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender Rachel Shebesh has expressed disappointment over underutilization of Uwezo Fund by residents especially from the Isiolo South Constituency.
Shebesh lamented that no one has ever benefited from the funds since inception due to failure by area people to form a constituency committee for overseeing the disbursement of the money for uplifting women’s economic activities.
Speaking in Isiolo town Wednesday, during a visit to monitor and evaluate progress in the issuance of Affirmative Action funds given to women, youth groups and people living with disabilities, Shebesh noted that it was a disservice to residents of Isiolo South to miss out in accessing government funds just because their leaders were yet to establish the requisite committee as their counterparts from Isiolo North continued to benefit.
She said that Uwezo Fund is patronized by the Member of Parliament and the Women Representative, and called upon the two to take responsibility and ensure that the all-important committee is up and running as soon as possible to enable their constituents to benefit from the government fund just like other Kenyans.
The CAS noted that the Women Enterprise Fund programme is also going on well in Isiolo North Constituency and issued a cheque worth Sh3.85 million to help women from the constituency grow their businesses and a further Sh5.48 million for youth groups, courtesy of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.
Shebesh noted that most businesses have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, hence there was need to increase the amount of money available at the grassroots level to support the affected business enterprises to get back on their feet.
She added that the department was considering doubling the amount of money currently being offered to various groups as a bare minimum.
“One of the major challenges experienced in roll out of the various funding programmes in this region was the nomadic nature of recipients, which makes it hard for officers to monitor and evaluate if the funds are being used prudently,” she said.
However, the CAS said that the programmes were still being implemented, adding that even if one or two people moved, the rest of the group members could still remain behind for accountability purposes and recovery of the funds.
Shebesh however noted that through the funding programmes, the government was more interested in the positive impact created across the country than recovery of the funds.
She also criticized some citizens’ belief that it was hard to obtain the funding especially for the youths, adding that no collateral was needed for one to access government funding unless the amount being sought exceeded Sh1 million.
At the same time, Hajj Dida Ali Boru, an elder in Garbatula township-Isiolo South Constituency also called upon the area Member of Parliament Abdi Koropu and the Women Representative Rehema Jaldesa to move with speed and set up the requisite committee.
He argued that it hurts to see women, youth and people with disability from the neighbouring constituencies benefit from the government funds while they could not obtain the same privileges because of a mistake that was not theirs.
The CAS also assessed operations at the Huduma Centre where members of public access various government services under one roof.
By David Nduro