The Hustler Fund has disbursed more than Sh41 billion to over 22 million Kenyans since its inception, according to the latest data from the government.
This is an increase from Sh39 million that had been disbursed last week as more Kenyans continue to borrow from the revolving fund that has received support and condemnation in equal measures.
This came as the State Department of Micro, Medium, and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) announced plans for an MSME Fund targeting small and medium traders.
MSMEs Principal Secretary Susan Auma said the number of Kenyans borrowing from the Hustler Fund is on the rise.
Ms Auma downplayed claims of mass default saying the fund had empowered millions of people mainly the low-wage earners doing small businesses.
“As of the start of this week, the amount disbursed to Kenyans from the Hustlers Fund has risen to Sh41B with over 22 million people benefiting,” she said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing MSMEs workshop in Naivasha, the PS expressed concern over the harassment of small-scale traders by county government officers.
Auma cited Nairobi county which was removing hawkers from streets saying the national government has engaged the leadership on the issue.
“We have seen cases where hawking has been criminalized and we are working for a win-win situation for both the county government and the hawkers,” she said.
The PS at the same time said that the government will set up the MSMEs Fund targeting the informal sector that has employed more than 16 million people.
She announced that the fund would issue loans of up to Sh1 million with the first phase targeting groups to support MSMEs.
“We plan to digitize the issuance of loans to the Micro, Medium, and Small Enterprises by working with county governments that have a similar entity,” she said.
Moses Banda an MSMEs advisor from State House regretted that the sector was largely ignored despite employing more than 16.5 million Kenyans.
He said that by the end of the three-day retreat, they expect to come up with a roadmap on how the MSMEs sector would get more assistance from the State.
“The Micro, Medium, and Small Enterprises is one of the top employers in the country but it has been largely ignored and forgotten and hence the need to give it more support,” he said.