The latest government data reveals that the Hustler Fund has distributed more than Ksh 41 billion to over 22 million Kenyans since its establishment. This marks a notable increase from Ksh 39 million reported just last week, as a growing number of Kenyans continued to borrow from the revolving fund, which has garnered both support and criticism.

The State Department of Micro, Medium, and Small Enterprises (MSMES) has also announced plans to establish an MSME fund to assist small and medium traders.

Susan Auma, the PS overseeing MSMES,  noted an upward trend in the number of Kenyans accessing loans from the Hustler Fund.

Addressing concerns of mass defaults, she played down such allegations, emphasizing that the Hustler fund has been instrumental in empowering millions, particularly low-wage earners, in bolstering their small businesses.

“As of the start of this week, the amount disbursed to Kenyans from the Hustlers funds has risen to Ksh 41B with over 22 million people benefiting,” she said.

During the ongoing MSME workshop in Naivasha, the PS voiced her concern about attacks on small-scale traders by county government officers. She specifically highlighted Nairobi as the most affected, citing the criminalization of hawking.

The national government, she mentioned, has initiated discussions with the top leadership to address this issue.

“We have seen cases where hawking has been criminalized and we are working for a win-win situation for both the county and the hawkers,” she said.

Auma at the same time announced that the government has initiated the development of an MSMEs fund specifically tailored for the informal sector, which currently employs over 16 million individuals.

Loans of up to Ksh 1 million

She highlighted that the fund would provide loans of up to Ksh 1 million, with the initial phase focusing on groups as a strategy to bolster support for Micro, Medium, and Small Enterprises.

“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 MSME advisor from State House, emphasized that despite employing over 16.5 million Kenyans, the sector has often been overlooked. He stated that, by the conclusion of the three-day retreat, they anticipate formulating a roadmap outlining how the MSME sector can receive increased 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.