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Uwezo, Youth Fund hit by defaulters

Kajiado East Constituency MP Peris Tobiko (R) celebrates with some of the beneficiaries of the governments Uwezo Fund shortly after Sh6.3 million was distributed in Kitengela. [Peterson Githaiga]

The Kajiado East Constituency Uwezo Fund and Youth Enterprise Fund in Nakuru have been hard hit after most beneficiaries defaulted to pay millions of shillings owing to effects of Covid-19.

The Kajiado East Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee dispersed Sh6.3 million to more than 60 groups early last year to boost their businesses.

Committee Chairman Mathew Maloi noted that only Sh2.4 million has been paid back by beneficiaries.

"We are disturbed by such a huge amount of money not being returned; we had only given the groups a duration of six months to repay, but it is now over a year,’’ said Maloi.

The chairman regretted that effects of coronavirus have forced most beneficiaries to close businesses.

“I am therefore calling upon the defaulters to try their best and pay the money so that we can be able to pass the same to other groups,” said Maloi.

Speaking shortly after presiding over the distribution of another Sh6.3 million to women, youth and persons living with disabilities in Kitengela on Saturday, area MP Peris Tobiko urged beneficiaries to use the money wisely.

Tobiko said disbursement of the funds was timely as most vulnerable groups will now engage in gainful self-employment after loss of jobs due to effects of Covid-19.

“This is a government project initiative to empower women and youths in our country. We urge you to spend the money wisely,” she said. The MP also appealed to the county government to consider the groups in award of contracts.

And repayment of loans by youths who benefited from the Youth Enterprise Fund in Nakuru has dropped from 70 to eight per cent.

The Fund disbursed Sh60 million to youths in the last financial year.

Nakuru County officer in charge of the enterprise funds Joshua Kariuki said the pandemic has led to loss of jobs.

“We have seen the repayment of the loans drop to eight per cent mainly due to the pandemic and we hope things will change in the coming months,” he said.

Speaking in Naivasha after disbursing more than Sh6.8 million to youths, Kariuki said plans were underway to increase the funds allocation in the county to Sh70 million in the 2020/21 financial year.

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