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Only youth groups will reap from Uwezo Fund

Updated Saturday, July 20th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By MWANIKI MUNUHE

KENYA: Even as President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to launch the ambitious Uwezo Fund later this month, it has emerged individual youth enterprises will not qualify to access the fund unless they are within a group framework, The Standard on Saturday can report.

Similarly, none of the youth or women groups, who are largely the target population for the fund, will obtain more than Sh500,000 per group irrespective of the nature of their investment.

However, individual enterprises will have the leeway to borrow from the existing youth and women enterprise development funds.

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru told The Standard on Saturday the measure to deny individual youth enterprises direct access to the Fund is meant to seal loopholes that can make it easy for dishonest individuals from taking advantage of the fund.

“Individual enterprises that will access the money must be in group frameworks. Some other people must sign up for them so that if they default, we have a way of catching up with them and recovering the money. The Fund will operate more or less like chamas. It is important to have proper accounting systems,” she said.

This happened even as it emerged that unscrupulous individuals were illegitimately registering people into various groups under the pretext they would help them access the fund. These, Waiguru warned, are people who do not in any way represent her ministry and that members of the public must exercise maximum caution before taking any such decision.

“There is so much interest. Some people think they can just take this money and run away. In fact, there are individuals who are already registering some people. It is important to note that the fund has not even been launched. So I urge Kenyans to be careful. I assure every Kenyan that the fund will be administered with all due diligence,” she said

The Standard on Saturday further established that women representatives might ultimately be the automatic patrons to the Fund across the country. They have been pushing for a stake in the administration of the Fund and the issue was part of the agenda when Jubilee Members of Parliament met President Uhuru at the State House, Nairobi recently.

Waiguru confirmed that the structure might tilt a little, saying: “A few things may change here and there, like women reps and other women leaders roles’” she said.

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