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CS Yatani defends proposed merger of empowerment funds

National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Amb. Ukur Yatani on Monday said marginalized groups stand to benefit more from the proposed merging of Uwezo, Women Enterprise and Youth Enterprise Funds.

Yatani defended the consolidation of the empowerment funds into one kitty saying this will help disadvantaged groups to access credit easily and avoid duplication.

He said the government intends to increase the fund from the current Sh2.5 billion to Sh14 billion to capture more vulnerable groups such as unemployed youth and pastoralists.

Speaking on the sideline of a meeting with the parliamentary committee on delegated legislation at a Mombasa Hotel, Yatani defended the merging of the funds saying it will enhance efficiency, reduce overhead costs and address issues of regulations.

“We are in the process of establishing the Biashara Kenya and it is prudent to consolidate the three empowerment funds to realize the intended objective,” said the CS.

He said the government was keen to consolidate the funds into one kitty to not only benefit more Kenyans and enhance efficiency but also to avoid duplication.

Yatani also disclosed that the government was in the process of establishing a drought management fund to cushion those affected and also manage the famine situation in the country.

He said six banks are already on board to operationalize the process which will see pastoralists and other Kenyans affected by drought benefit a lot.

The parliamentary committee has raised concerns that the consolidation of the funds would result to job losses saying the merger plan did not provide clear transitional provisions for employees, assets and liabilities including remedies for defaulters.

The funds are aimed at enabling women, youth and persons with disability access finances to promote enterprises at the grassroots level and thus enhance economic growth.

The meeting to deliberate on some of the regulations and legislation reforms affecting the funds was also attended by the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

by Mohamed Hassan

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