The Hustler Fund is finally here, but it could take you 50 years to borrow 50k

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, President William Ruto and Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja during the Hustler Funds launch. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

“Dear customer, please try again after 30 minutes,” Prezzo Bill Ruto’s phone beeped when he registered to use the Sh50 billion Hustler Fund that he inaugurated on Wednesday. After a number of trials, he finally logged in. He was eligible to borrow Sh2,200.

This was revelatory on a number of counts, the first being that Prezzo Ruto credit rating isn’t that high. Well, if one can borrow up to Sh50,000, some 2k is entry level in the scheme of borrowing.

Secondly, Prezzo Ruto’s short speech revealed he can crunch quite some big numbers. He placed the new fund as 500 times cheaper than conventional banks and other lenders—and that the eight per cent annual interest rate constituted some 0.002 per cent daily. He did all this without a calculator.

He did not work out what he’d ultimately pay for his Sh2,200 loan, or even when he intended to pay it back. But he if delays longer than the stipulated period of 14 days, he’d risk having his account frozen and his credit rating plummeting, which could cost him a higher interest of 9.5 per cent, when he applies for loan again.

Neither did Prezzo Ruto work out how much he’d have in hand, after some five per cent of his Sh2,200 loan was docked off towards his pension fund. The idea is that for every two shillings saved, the government will save a shilling.

Finally, it’s not clear when the pension fund matures, or even whether Prezzo Ruto would qualify to borrow more, given his Deputy Riggy G’s admonition that well-heeled Kenyans should keep off the Hustler Fund.

Still, it was refreshing to see Riggy’s sartorial transformation. His bulging girth—the focus of a popular sketch by Zakariah Kariuki—has since been set free. He no longer buttons up to accommodate the protuberance.

Still, Riggy G retains his intransigence, repeating time and again: there is no free money in this country. Who doesn’t know that?