Use Uwezo cash to create jobs, urges fund boss
By James Wanzala
| Jan 23rd 2015 | 3 min read
Kenya: Uwezo Fund recipients have been urged to use their loans prudently and for the intended purpose in order to lift their socio-economic status and create more jobs.
Uwezo Fund Oversight Board Secretariat’s acting Chief Executive Officer Wilfred Buyema also cautioned the fund’s recipients against misusing the cash on luxuries or engaging in other uneconomic ventures which may lead to failing to repay their loans. Addressing people at the Jomo Kenyatta Primary School in Msambweni Constituency, Kwale County on Monday, Mr Buyema said Uwezo Fund’s major objective was to expand access to finances among the youth, women and persons living with disability at the constituency level for economic growth and realisation of Vision 2030.
“If a group has been allocated Sh300,000 Uwezo funds and is paid Sh100,000 as the first disbursement, they should not panic as they will eventually receive all their allocation when they repay this loan to enable others to also benefit,” Mr Buyema told the funds beneficiaries in both Mwingi and Msambweni. “Uwezo loans are a revolving fund targeting as many beneficiaries as possible.”
He said the Government has released more than Sh5.3 billion under the Uwezo Fund to youth groups, women and people with disabilities in 286 constituencies across the country to date. Mr Buyema warned that failing to repay the Uwezo loans was not an option as the existing structure will ensure that all the defaulters are made to repay these interest-free loans.
Last weekend, about Sh18 million was released to the beneficiaries - women groups, persons with disabilities and youth groups in Mwingi Central and Msambweni Constituencies under the coordination of Mr Buyema and senior officials of the Uwezo Board.
During the Msambweni function, witnessed by Kwale County Governor Salim Mvurya, Senator Boy Juma Boy and Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori, among other top government officials, cheques worth Sh10m million were issued to 180 groups who included women, youth and persons with disabilities.
Msambweni Constituency received an allocation of Sh19.5 million and currently, Sh9.5 million is in the kitty for distribution to successful vetted groups. Speaking during a similar ceremony at the Musila Gardens in Mwingi Central Constituency recently, Mr Buyema urged Kenyans to take advantage of Uwezo funds to turn around their fortunes.
He gave out cheques totalling Sh7.5 million to 160 groups who included 18 youth groups, 56 women groups and two persons with disabilities. Mwingi Central Constituency received an allocation of Sh20.9 million and the remaining amount in their kitty is Sh13.4 million.
He expressed satisfaction that the funds were achieving their intended objective of incubating enterprises, catalyzing innovation, promoting industry, creating employment and growing the economy. He said that all the Uwezo funds allocations were at constituency levels and clarified that the decision by the board to give it out to groups in tranches of Sh100,000 was intended to monitor their performances and build their capacities for more funds absorption.
The fund is expected to expand access to credit to promote women and youth enterprises. Others funds in the country include the Women Fund and the Youth Fund.
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