Hustler Fund borrowers to get rewards

Chelugui at Pensions Conference and Expo

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui (right) with Nation Media Group Chief Commercial Officer Kenneth Oyolla on the sidelines of the Pensions Conference and Expo organised by NMG at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 29.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Faithful Hustler Fund borrowers are today, November 30, set to reap the benefits of their loyalty as the fund marks its first anniversary, the government has said.

Among the benefits include interest on savings and increased loan limits, Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said yesterday.

Speaking on the second day of the inaugural pensions conference and expo organised by the Nation Media Group (NMG), Mr Chelugui said that the faithful borrowers will enjoy incentives as part of celebrations to mark the one year milestone.

“Anyone who has saved Sh6,000 and above will get a Sh3,000 government incentive to promote savings ... The fellows who have borrowed consistently, they are over one million out of 19 million, who have borrowed over 10 times, will get their 11th” the CS said.

“If your limit is Sh6,000, you will automatically go to Sh12,000.” He added that those whose savings are above Sh25,000 will get their limit raised to Sh50,000, the maximum limit.

Also known as the Financial Inclusion Fund, the Hustler Fund has disbursed Sh39.5 billion, with Sh28 billion paid back, the CS said. The fund has about Sh2 billion in savings and 7.5 million repeat customers. The highest borrower has savings of Sh225,000. Under the current terms of the loan product, 95 per cent of the credit is availed to the borrower immediately while 5 per cent is withheld as savings.

“The government has long recognised the importance of Cooperatives and MSMEs (Micro, Medium, and Small Enterprises) in building a resilient and diversified economy. Through various policy initiatives and support programmes, we have endeavoured to create an environment conducive to the growth of these sectors,” said Mr Chelugui.

In a previous interview with the Nation, MSMES Principal Secretary Susan Mang’eni said borrowers would soon be able to access their savings following the upgrade of the fund’s systems. The beneficiaries, she said, will be taken through the process during the anniversary celebrations.

Speakers at the NMG Pensions Conference lauded the intitiative as they engaged participants on various aspects of the industry.

Joseph Rono, the Executive Director of the County Pension Fund, called for caution.

“In the new era of land acquisition, lean on a fund manager for low indemnity risk and professional guidance. They not only ensure the best value but align your investment with pension goals, making every plot a step toward a secure financial future,” Mr Rono said.

Mr Ribin Ondwari, a partner at Ashitiva Advocates LLP said existing laws and regulations have played a critical role in protecting workers’ funds. “By adhering to laws, we not only safeguard investments but also prioritise the protection and prosperity of individuals,” he said.

Nairobi Securities Exchange Chief Officer for Strategy, Risk and Compliance David Irungu Waggema urged pension funds to invest in listed firms.

“We are leveraging our expertise and collaborating with international markets such as the US, South Africa and Nigeria for expansion. The Retirement Benefits Authority allows pension funds to allocate up to 30 per cent to both listed and non-listed firms,” he said.