Savings and credit societies ready to disburse Hustler Fund, grow savings

Presdient William Ruto interacts with vendors popularly known as 'hustlers' during the hustler fund launch at Green Park stage at Railways on November 30, 2022. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Savings and Cooperative Credit Societies (Saccos) have expressed willingness to disburse the government's Hustler Fund, which is aimed at deepening financial inclusion - especially among low-income earners.

Sacco leaders pledged support for the development of the kitty saying it would ensure affordable credit to more members.

"The Hustler Fund if channelled through Saccos will improve liquidity, increase and diversify membership base, improve the savings culture and enhance Saccos' sustainability through the digitalisation of products," said Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco) National Chairman George Magutu.

Recently, Cooperatives and Micro small Enterprises Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the Hustler Fund is seeking to partner with Saccos. The State plans to leverage advanced Sacco system to develop a tier-three financial system.

Magutu spoke as over 900 Sacco officials attended this year's leaders convention in Mombasa amid calls for concerted efforts in building financial literacy among members.

Kenya's Sacco movement has risen to become a force, providing members with a platform to save and borrow loans and even own homes.

They not only also provide affordable credit to their members but are also growth drivers of small businesses.

The leaders' convention showcased success stories of the socio-economic development of Sacco members' lifestyles through improved housing, education, incomes, skills development and employment.

Kussco is already active in the micro small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector through a partnership with the World Council of Credit Union dubbed the Technology and Innovation for Financial Inclusion (TIFI) project, which is a small business lending framework.

The project is in its pilot stage with 10 Saccos from various counties. The participating Saccos have already disbursed 588 business loans to MSMEs worth Sh1.08 billion with a portfolio at risk of zero to one per cent in 90 days.

"Saccos lend to MSMEs based on character, capacity to repay, conditions and capital, as opposed to using collateral as the only lending criteria. This has positioned Saccos as a one-stop-shop for MSME financing," said Kussco Managing Director George Ototo.

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