Cheques worth Sh22.73 million from affirmative funds that include Uwezo, Women Enterprise and Youth Enterprise Development fund have been disbursed to various women and youth groups in Kisumu County.
Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh presided over the issuance of the cheques to the various beneficiaries at the Kisumu County Commissioner’s office on Thursday.
The national government through various affirmative action funds has been giving interest-free loans to youth, women and persons living with disabilities groups to expand their small businesses countrywide.
Shebesh said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure has given out more loans since the inception of the kitties aimed at uplifting the lives of the citizens.
“I urge the youths to apply for these zero-rated credit facilities offered by the national government for social and economic empowerment and to improve the livelihoods of mwananchi,” said the CAS.
Shebesh who was in the lakeside County to evaluate the progress and determine the capacity of the affirmative funds said the government is committed to supporting the youth, women and persons with disabilities and that the program is picking up again after the effects of Covid 19 pandemic.
“The uptake of these loans were greatly affected during the Covid 19 crisis but the government has improved the funds’ operation processes and expanded the officer’s capacity to improve services,” she stated adding that when operating optimally, the government can disburse over Sh.100 million monthly as loans to the groups in Kisumu County.
She applauded the high number of women who have actively applied and benefitted from the loans and are also keen on repaying their loans with some groups posting impressive results of up to 102 per cent repayment rate.
During the session, the Uwezo Fund disbursed Sh.5.73 million, YEDF and WEF each issued Sh.2.5 million and Sh.12 million respectively.
So far, the Uwezo Fund has disbursed Sh.158 million cumulatively in Kisumu County with a repayment rate of 38 per cent
The Uwezo Fund CEO, Mr. Peter Lengapiani said the repayment rate in the County dipped during the Covid-19 pandemic as the economy was devastated by the lockdowns and restricted movement of people, which affected business activities.
Mr. Lengapiani said before the money is disbursed the beneficiaries undergo entrepreneurial management skills to utilize the funds effectively.
By Robert Ojwang’