Kenyan widows will benefit from an interest free loan from the government to enable them improve their livelihoods through income generating activities, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs And Special Programmes, Professor Margaret Kobia has said.
Prof Kobia said that her Ministry, through the Women Enterprise Fund, has developed a special product for the widows, dubbed “Thamini” which will be interest free and beneficiaries will not be charged any administrative fee.
And to kick off the product, 15 Siaya widows’ groups became the first to benefit from loans amounting to Sh1.5 million after undergoing training, said the Cabinet Secretary.
She was speaking at Simerro trading centre in Ugunja Sub County, Siaya, during a Huduma Mashinani Initiative that saw hundreds of citizens’ benefit from various government services.
The event was attended by among others, Chief Administrative Secretary, Rachel Shebesh, legislators Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) Dr Lillian Gogo (Rangwe), Prof Jacqueline Oduol (nominated) and Dr Christine Ombaka (Siaya Women Representative).
The Cabinet Secretary said beneficiaries of the “Thamini” loan will get between 100,000/= to 1,000,000 with flexible repayment terms for a period of up to 30 months.
She said that more than 1.6 million widows have received business skills training, adding that the government was committed to the principle of inclusion and participation of all Kenyans through implementation of an affirmative action funds for the youth and women all over the county.
Prof Kobia said that the government had disbursed more than Sh295.4 million through the women enterprise fund to women in Siaya County
“The amount has benefitted 34,882 beneficiaries, with a good repayment rate of 95 percent,” she said while applauding the local women for their boldness and courage to take up the funds and expand their businesses and paying promptly.
On Huduma Kenya program, Prof Kobia said that Kenyans had saved more than 200 billion shillings that would have been spent on transport, time, corruption and multiple visits to complete an application in numerous government offices since the initiative began seven years ago.
She said that the model had further reduced the government cost of providing services by Sh. 118 billion.
“More than 56 million citizen’s requests have been processed and more than 50,000 Kenyans continue to receive convenient services every day under one roof with no need for funding and maintaining multiple office spaces and provision of utilities,” she said.
Earlier, Prof Kobia in company of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s wife, Ida Odinga, presided over the official opening of a library at Nyasanda Community High School where they called on students to help take good care of learning infrastructure.
The library was constructed by the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
The duo said parents and the government were spending a lot in developing facilities in learning institutions and expected the students to reciprocate by taking their studies seriously.
Ugunja MP, in whose constituency the school lies, promised the school that local Constituency Development Fund will deliver a bus in January next year.
By Philip Onyango