Hundreds miss Uwezo loans because of defaulters
Hundreds of Youths and women groups in Kilifi South Constituency have not been able to access the Uwezo Fund due to existing debts by other groups.
The youth and women are in more than one hundred groups that submitted their loan application forms and had qualified for the money.
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According to the Uwezo Fund CEO Joseph Kirubi, 359 groups applied for the loan in 2014-2015 and 279 qualified.
Speaking at Vipingo Social hall during the issuance of National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) by Kilifi County Woman Representative Getrude Mbeyu, the CEO said the groups have relaxed and were not paying the loans and noted that out of shs13 million loan that is supposed to have been paid to date to the groups only Sh3 million has been repaid.
“Only 26 per cent of the loans we issued to youth and women groups have been received and the money is affecting the issuance of loans to other groups who are supposed to benefit from the fund. More than 120 groups have made applications and have not received the money and this is because the 277 groups that were given the money have failed to pay up to now,” said Kirubi.
The CEO said that they have consulted with the area Deputy County Commissioner and the political leadership to assist in recovering the money
“The Uwezo Fund is in the entire constituency and the money that the pay back is revolved to other groups. The shs10 million that is pending would have benefited more groups and also those that have repaid their loans would be given double the first amount, he said.
The CEO said that they have issued a default notice for the groups to pay their loans.
“We are supposed to fine defaulters 5% of unpaid money. But we have given a default notice of 14 days. We will again sit down with those who will have started paying the loan within the period and have not been able to complete and look for which strategies they will use to clear the debt,” said Kirubi.
He said in some areas, they have signed new commitments with the groups for them to pay the loans in not more than 60 days.
“We will insist that Uwezo loans are not grants, they are interest free, no securities in order to qualify for the loans but the money should be paid back,” he said.
Kirubi said that the groups expressed different challenges that led them not to pay the debts including political influence, drought and poor business performance.
He said a team has been dispatched to follow up on the debtors.
The Woman Representative urged women and youths to utilise the funds (Women Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund) before June 30th to fight poverty.
Mbeyu said a lot of funds that is being allocated the County is always underused and taken back.
“We should make use of the money just like other groups in other parts of the Country. It is unfortunate that it is a norm that we never make use of our monies and every time it goes back and we are left to swim in poverty,” said Mbeyu.
Women groups in Kilifi south Constituency were issued with shs1.7 million Uwezo fund loan.
At the same time women groups in the County were issued with Sh4.3 million from Women Enterprise Fund (WEF).
She said she will push for the 30 percent tender allocation for youth and women which the County has not been honouring.