A high number of beneficiaries of the Youth Enterprise Fund in Nakuru County have defaulted on repayment following the Covid-19 pandemic with only 7 percent said to be servicing their loans.
According to the Fund management, youth in the county received Sh.60 million in the last financial year, but many have been unable to service their loans after their investments were affected by the ongoing pandemic.
The Nakuru County Officer in charge of the Youth Enterprise Fund, Joshua Kariuki said the pandemic had adversely affected many jobs, thus affecting beneficiaries of the fund.
Kariuki said the repayment rate stood at 70 percent until the pandemic hit the country. “We have seen the repayment of the loans drop to 8 percent mainly due to the pandemic and we hope things will change in the coming months,” he said.
Speaking in Naivasha on Monday after handing over a Sh.6.8m cheque to youth in the area, the youth officer said plans were underway to increase the county allocation to Sh.70m this financial year.
The Naivasha MP, Jane Kihara who was the chief guest attributed the rise in cases of early pregnancies among school going children in the area to collapse of the free sanitary programme.
She challenged the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof. George Magoha to use women MPs and ward representatives to continue distributing the pads to students who are currently at home due to the pandemic.
Kihara noted that since schools were closed, the programme collapsed exposing the students to abuse by men some of who bought them pads in exchange for sex.
“We are calling on the government to revive the programme where the girls can pick sanitary pads from nearby schools as many of them undergoing untold suffering,” she said.
The Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner, Mathioya Mbogo reiterated government commitment in ensuring that local people benefit from the 24 kilometre railway line project from Mai-Mahiu to Longonot station with youths benefiting not only from jobs, but also business opportunities.
By Esther Mwangi