There's no free money from government, Ruto says on Hustlers Fund

President William Ruto making his speech at the Green Stadium in Kericho on October 16, 2022 during an interdenominational church service. [Brian Okoth, Standard]

President William Ruto has said that he will officially roll out the Sh50 billion annual Hustlers Fund programme on December 1, 2022.

The Head of State said on Sunday, October 16 that Kenyans interested in borrowing funds from the programme will have to organise themselves into registered groups such as SACCOs.

Those seeking to access the funds as individuals will have to go through rigorous vetting to avert fraud and the loss of the monies.

The president spoke at the Green Stadium in Kericho County during an interdenominational church service.

"The money that will be borrowed from the Hustlers Fund will strictly be used by the small and medium enterprises to upgrade their businesses. Let no one think that the government will give them free money, there has never been free funds from the State. If you borrow money from the Hustlers Fund, you'll plunge it into business, and refund the government at an interest rate below 10 per cent per annum," said President Ruto.

"We want to ensure that Kenyans don't fall prey to shylocks who charge extremely high interest rates on loans."

The president further said that he will involve the National Assembly to formulate laws that govern the operationalisation of the Hustlers Fund.

Ruto further put on notice government officials angling for control of the Hustlers Fund, saying that the custodians of the monies will be closely watched.

"I hear some people saying committees are being formed to oversee the programme's roll-out. Let me be very clear, there is no committee being created to prepare for the Hustlers Fund. If you try to steal government money, then we'll deal with you accordingly as per the law," said the Head of State.

According to data by the World Bank, Kenya has about 7.4 million small and medium enterprises that employ some 4.9 million people in various sectors of the economy.

"Kenya's 7.4 million Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) hold the key to job creation and greater productivity, however they urgently need greater access to credit to scale operations, raise their productivity and deliver shared prosperity for Kenyans," the World Bank Country Director for Kenya Keith Hansen said in October 2021.